Dealing with a fractured skull is one of the possibilities you face if you suffer a strong blow to the head. While damage to the soft tissue – i.e. the brain itself – serves as a more common problem, even bone can buckle under enough force.
Thus, you need to know how to identify signs of a potential fracture in order to get the fastest medical treatment possible.
Internal bleeding and external bruising
Merck Manual discusses some of the red flags that might indicate a skull fracture. The physical signs may not stand out as prominently, but they can indicate the possibility of blood inside the skull. First, keep an eye out for bruising around the eyes or behind the ears. This is due to the fact that blood in the skull will often settle in the hollow points, and will show in the form of bruising.
You may also notice blood leaking from the ears, along with clear fluid leaking from the ears or nose. Blood may build up behind the eardrums until they burst, while the clear fluid – cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) – is within cranial and spinal spaces. If these spaces end up punctured or damaged, the fluid within can leak out through orifices in the face.
The onset of neurological symptoms
The onset of neurological symptoms due to skull fracture also often appears faster than the symptoms that occur due to concussive damage. This may include seizures, repeated vomiting, partial or full paralysis and a failure to identify one’s surroundings.
If skull fractures do not get immediate medical treatment, you risk the possibility of permanent brain damage. Thus, if you notice such signs, you want to get immediate medical help.