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Discharge advice: Head Injury

Head Injury Advice

If you have been sent home after a head injury you should:

  • Avoid alcohol/drugs/sedatives/driving/strenuous exertion and excessive screen time for at least 24 hours.

  • Rest for at least 24 hours.

  • Ask a friend/relative to stay with you for at least 24 hours.

  • Make sure you stay in easy reach of a telephone and help.

  • Take painkillers as needed.


Should any of the following symptoms return, we suggest that you come back, or get someone to bring you back to your nearest hospital Emergency Department as soon as possible.


  • Unconsciousness, or lack of full consciousness (for example, problems keeping eyes open)

  • Drowsiness (feeling sleepy) that goes on for longer than 1 hour when you would normally be wide awake

  • Problems understanding or speaking

  • Loss of balance or problems walking

  • Weakness in one or more arms or legs

  • Problems with your eyesight

  • Painful headache that won’t go away

  • Vomiting (being sick)

  • Seizures (also known as convulsions or fits)

  • Clear fluid coming out of your ear or nose, or bleeding from one or both ears.


You may feel some other symptoms over the next few days which should disappear in the next 2 weeks. These include:

  • Mild headache

  • Feeling sick (without vomiting)

  • Dizziness

  • Irritability or bad temper

  • Tiredness

  • Problems concentrating

  • Problems with memory

  • Lack of appetite

  • Problems sleeping


If you are concerned about any of these symptoms, they do not go away after two weeks, or you develop these symptoms after weeks or months, please contact your GP.


Driving, Work and Sport Advice

  • DO NOT play any contact sport (for example, rugby or football) for at least 3 weeks without talking to your doctor first.

  • DO NOT return to your normal school, college or work activity until you feel you have completely recovered.

  • DO NOT drive a car, motorbike or bicycle or operate machinery unless you feel you have completely recovered.


For further concussion advice please visit: (brain injury charity)


Useful websites


Other information

For non-emergency advice and treatement please contact your own GP. For non-emergency advice and treatement please consider NHS 111. In case of emergency please attended your local Accident and Emergency Department or call the emergecy services on 999.

This Information can be provided in other languages and formats upon request. Please contact the Patient Advice and Liason Service (PALS) on (01604) 545784, email:

Adapted from NICE Suggested written discharge advice card.


Last update: May 2022

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