Brain Awareness Week

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Brain Awareness Week

This year, Brain Awareness Week takes place from March 13th to 19th. It aims to educate people about the importance of the brain and the many studies taking place to make advancements in the field. St. John Ambulance has an article that goes over this interesting week. Here it is below.

As Canadians, 27 of us are diagnosed with a brain tumour each and every day. As a result, many families are affected by this devastating news, with brain tumours impacting the victim’s physical and intellectual abilities, as well as their personality.


Protect your Brain. Wear a Helmet

We all know how precious the brain is, so one of the most imperative steps you can take to protecting yours is by wearing a helmet. Whether you’re cycling, climbing, motorcycling or going up to bat, think with your head and protect yourself. Here are some quick tips on how to determine if a helmet is the right fit for you:

  • Determine the type of helmet you require, which is based on the sport you will be participating in. Each helmet is designed to withstand specific forces, unique to that sport, so choosing the right one is imperative. For example, a bicycle helmet likely won’t offer the best protection for a baseball player, and a climbing helmet won’t do the trick for motorcyclist.
  • Ensure a proper fit. Choose a product that fits your head circumference, which may involve some trial and error. Also make sure that there are no missing parts or broken pieces.
    • Helmets should cover both your forehead and the back of your head. So when you’re trying a product on, shake your head front, back and side-to-side. The helmet should fit snuggly and not wobble in any direction.
    • Check the chinstrap. If your helmet requires one, it should fit nicely under your chin without affecting your ability to breathe, swallow or speak. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be so loose that you can easily fit a finger in between the strap and your chin.


And remember, helmets are designed to protect the wearer from fractures, not from concussions or compression injury.



A “head injury” refers to a serious injury of the head where brain function is, or may be, affected.  Head injuries include skull fractures, brain concussion and brain compression. Such injuries are frequently complicated by unconsciousness.  Fractures at the base of the skull often involve injury to the cervical spine. For this reason, when you suspect a head injury, you should also suspect a neck injury.


Signs and symptoms of head injuries

The following signs and symptoms indicate a possible fracture of the skull or facial bones, concussion or compression:

  • Deformed skull
  • Swollen, bruised or bleeding scalp
  • Straw-coloured fluid or blood coming from the nose or ear(s)
  • Bruising around the eyes (black eye) or behind the ears
  • Nausea, vomiting, especially in children
  • Confused, dazed, possibly combative
  • Semi-conscious or unconscious (an unconscious casualty with a head injury may vomit. Be ready to turn the casualty to the side and clear the airway quickly)
  • Stopped breathing or irregular respiration
  • Very slow pulse rate
  • Pupils are of unequal size
  • Pain at the injury site
  • Weakened or paralyzed arms and/or legs
  • Pain when swallowing or moving the jaw
  • Wounds in the mouth
  • Knocked-out teeth
  • Shock
  • Convulsions


Skull fracture

Fractures of the skull may be the result of direct force or an indirect force that is transmitted through the bones.  Fractures may occur in the cranium, at the base of the skull, or in the face. Facial fractures include the nose, the bones around the eyes, the upper jaw and the lower jaw. Fractures of the jaw are often complicated by wounds inside the mouth.


First aid for head injury, including fracture of the skull

First aid for fractures of the skull depends on the fracture site and the signs. Whenever there is a skull fracture, a spinal injury should be suspected – give first aid as if there was a neck injury. The head and neck should be immobilized accordingly.

  1. Begin ESM – start the scene survey. When you recognize that there may be a head injury, tell the casualty not to move and get medical help. Steady and support the head with your hands as soon as possible. Assess responsiveness.
  2. Perform a primary survey. Give first aid for the life-threatening injuries. If CPR is required, open the airway using the head-tilt chin lift, after the initial 30 compressions. This is necessary to establish an airway, regardless of movement of the spine.
  3. If blood or fluid is coming from the ear canal, secure a sterile dressing lightly over the ear, making sure fluids can drain.
  4. Protect areas of depression, lumps, bumps, or scalp wounds where an underlying skull fracture is suspected. Use thick, compressible, soft dressings bandaged in place. Avoid pressure on the fracture site.
  5. Warn the casualty not to blow their nose if there is blood or fluid coming from it. Do not restrict blood flow. Wipe away any trickling blood to prevent it from entering the mouth, causing breathing difficulties.
  6. Give ongoing casualty care until medical help takes over.

To read the original article, please click here.

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