We can’t really tell you how long it will take your child to recover from a concussion. Some children recover from a concussion in as little as 24 hours, while others can spend weeks reeling from the effects. However, eighty percent of children recover from concussion symptoms within three weeks. While they’re recovering, here are five tips to follow:
1. Rest for 48 hours
Is my child really supposed to sit down and zone out? Yes. That’s exactly the idea! That’s no Ipad, no cellphone, no Xbox, no laptop, no TV! When recovering from a concussion, your child should definitely slow down on physical activities as your child’s brain is hard at work, using lots of energy to repair itself. It is a good idea to start gentle exercise after 48 hours, going everyday for a gentle walk, cycle or swim for 20 minutes.
While exercise is good, it sends lots of fresh blood and oxygen to your brain to help it heal, too much exercise can actually cause a strain on your brain as energy/blood is then taken away from the brain to supply the legs and extremities with blood which now ‘steals’ blood from their brain and actually slows down healing, so it’s a fine balance!
Let your child sleep. That means a full night of sleep and plenty of naps, too. Sleep helps shut down the rest of your child’s body so their brain can get to work repairing itself. Little disclaimer here*** only let your child sleep once they have been cleared by a Sports Physician that there is no other pathology like a brain bleed or skull fracture!
2. Don’t think
Thinking is actually a physical activity. Problem solving and critical thinking puts strain on your child’s healing brain as it requires a lot of neurological activity inside of your brain. Avoid concentrating too heavily on anything, including work or study. We encourage a graduated RETURN TO LEARN policy at schools, which may mean that your child needs to be exempt from tests or exams in the acute stages.
3. Encourage healthy eating
Here are the best foods to eat when recovering from a concussion:
• Lean Meats
• Lots of water
4. Encourage patience and quiet time
Your child may not be able to do everything that they did before their concussion— at least not immediately. It takes time to recover from a concussion. Some children are extremely sensitive to bright light; encourage them to wear a cap and sunglasses when outside. Some children find the noise and hub bub of shopping centres and school playgrounds a bit overwhelming. Limit their exposure to their environments for the first few days and then gradually expose them in small bouts, if they are sensitive.
Their young brains may have a hard time with memory, or trouble focusing. Having a concussion can even make your child more emotional. They may experience increased irritability or sadness. Remember, it’s a normal part of the recovery process and it will get better.
5. Give your child medication responsibly
For a headache, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen. But you don’t want to take matters into your own hands. In fact, certain medications can make your child’s concussion worse, leading to bleeding in the brain. To be on the safe side, you’ll need to discuss the right treatment with your doctor first.
Even though you can’t see you child’s injury, it still exists — and they still need care. Your child may not do everything they could do pre-injury just yet, but eventually, they’ll bounce back! Before you know it, you’ll see the sparkle back in their eyes…