Getting into an accident while traveling is perhaps one of the more anxiety-inducing events you’d have to deal with – especially when you’re ostensibly supposed to be on a work trip, or trying to enjoy your time with friends and family. It can be a really dicey situation and being away from home only adds to the stress. If you’ve gotten into a horrible accident and managed to also experience head trauma while away, then be sure to follow these tips to help you stay healthy and salvage the situation as soon as you can.

1. Check Your Symptoms

If you’ve fallen off a bike or gotten into a car accident or dealt with anything that led to head trauma, check for a few key symptoms first. Pain, bleeding, and other obvious signs are things to be on the lookout for. However, not all head injury symptoms will occur right away, and they may take time to develop over the next few hours, if not days. Even if you’ve somehow managed to severely fracture your skull, the brain may be bruised but your head will look fine initially – that is, till bleeding or swelling in the skull begins to pool. It is important to be careful and monitor how you’re feeling closely.

2. Seek Medical Assistance

A bit of first aid is in order if you’ve hurt your head. It goes without saying that if it looks serious right away, then you should call 911 as soon as possible. However, because severe head trauma can take some time to manifest physically, be on the lookout if you start to feel sleepy or behave erratically. Slurred speech is an especially worrisome sign, as are severe side-splitting headaches and a stiff neck. See a doctor and make sure to obtain any relevant copies of your medical report in the event that you may need it to establish fault in the court of law later on.

3. Reduce Noise

Loud noises are of course not advisable when you’ve hurt your head. But when suffering head trauma, you need to protect yourself from “noise” in a more general sense, meaning avoiding sensory overload. After a brain injury, you will find yourself distracted easily by lights, excessive noise, and will in turn feel irritable and dizzy. You may even experience memory problems or feel overwhelmed, which is deeply unhelpful when trying to recover from head trauma. Trying to recover by staying in a calm place with relatively soothing music, and not exerting yourself too much may help recover.

Keep Distractions at Bay

Similar to what has been mentioned in point three, it is important to try to avoid taking on too much while recovering from a head injury and trying to survive the rest of your trip in one piece. Listen to music but then don’t read a book at the same time. Or, cook a meal but don’t listen to a podcast while doing it. Treat your brain like precious real estate whose resources and capacities need to be protected. Rest as much as you can, and avoid strong light or anything else that may cause you to exert yourself too much.

4. Be Careful with Motion Sickness

You will be feeling extra sensitive in the aftermath of head trauma, so try to avoid motion sickness. Reading while on the train or plane back may be a bad idea, as is staring at your phone. This may lead to nausea and a feeling of disorientation. Instead, try to listen to some soft music and keep your eyes closed as you try to make it back to your destination. Motion sickness only exacerbates head trauma and prolongs your recovery time.

5. Special Accommodations

Look into any special accommodations your airline or train provider may be able to offer as you try to make the trek back home. If there is special seating, or if you can have access to a wheelchair and further physical assistance as you recover, then it makes sense to ask for as much help as possible. Harsh head trauma is painful and you need to be gentle with yourself in order to recover.

Being able to travel comfortably and safely is something we often take for granted until it’s too late. If you do get hurt while traveling, then you need to be gentle with yourself, and also seek medical attention straight away. Recovery may take some time, but you will be on the fast track if you follow the tips above.

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