Things that go bump in the night
November 28, 2017 7:41 PM   Subscribe

I slipped and whacked the back of my head on a window ledge. Do I need to go to the doctor?

It's 10:40 PM here. About half an hour ago, I slipped and hit the back of my head against the (protruding) corner of a window ledge. I didn't lose consciousness and I remember exactly how it happened. Aside from a painful bump on my head, I don't have any other symptoms.

1) Should I go to the ER?
2) If not, should I still try to see a doctor ASAP?
3) Should I wait a few more hours before going to sleep tonight?
posted by airmail to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
I have a feeling no one feels comfortable giving medical advice on this issue. What about calling an ER or quick care and asking them your questions?

It never hurts to document a head injury...
posted by mulcahy at 8:30 PM on November 28, 2017

Check your pupils. Are they dilated or uneven? See a thorough list of symptoms here. If you have any, go in!

Ice for as long as you can stand it, immediately. Keep a rotation of fresh ice until you head to bed. Take acetaminophen (Tylenol) but not aspirin or ibuprofen as these are blood thinners and may increase bruising. Dim the lights, stay away from screens and take it easy for the next few weeks. No, really. Even if you don't think you need it! The pain and swelling should peak in 2 days but cognitive and emotional effects may slip in toward the end of the week. No heavy cognitive tasks like reading or video games. Avoid sensation overload.

Can someone check on you in a few hours? Wake you up gently, or come over if you don't pick up your phone?
posted by fritillary at 8:42 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

How's your insurance? * kidding / not kidding *

If you have a regular doctor, call their office and see if they have a 24/hr nurse to guide you.
If you go by a stand-alone urgent care center, ask before treatment what type of service they provide and whether it is one of the expensive stand-alone emergency rooms or emergency clinics.
Be prepared for a wait at the emergency room. And have your insurance information with you. See if a friend can go with you, especially if you have to drive home with medication.
And as always, IANAD / IANYD.
posted by TrishaU at 8:59 PM on November 28, 2017

Yes! Call your nurse hotline, if you have access to one. They'll assess the situation and advise you on whether or not to go to urgent care, the ER, etc. It's worth the ease of mind, in my opinion. (I recently used it and found it helpful).
posted by too bad you're not me at 10:59 PM on November 28, 2017

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