TAMPA, Fla. — Friends, family, and fans are still grieving the loss of actor Bob Saget. In light of his passing, doctors urge people to know the signs and symptoms of a head injury and when you should get help.
In a statement, Saget’s family said, “The authorities have determined that Bob passed from head trauma. They have concluded that he accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and went to sleep. No drugs or alcohol were involved.”
“There’s certain things that we really look for that’s very important that tells us if the head injury is something very serious or something minor,” said Dr. Joyce Perfetti, an Emergency Department physician with AdventHealth Tampa.
With head injuries, Dr. Perfetti said they’ll look at if you’re on medications like blood thinners and how you hit your head. She says for anyone who’s older, if it’s any kind of head injury, they always recommend getting evaluated.
Perfetti explains where you hit your head is important, but she thinks the main thing is the signs and symptoms you have.
“Within the first 24 hours of a head injury, if you start developing any warning signs or symptoms like any neurologic signs, such as vision change, change in speech, weakness or numbness in the hands or feet, if you start vomiting, or if the headache is persistent or becoming more severe, those are all warning signs that this is more than just a simple bump on the head,” said Perfetti. “Even if it’s after 24 hours, if a headache is progressing or just not relenting despite what you’re taking, still that’s sign of a severe head injury.”
Dr. Michael Jaffe, the Vice Chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Florida and the director of the UF BRAIN Center, shared some more red flags to watch for.
“If the pupils are different size. If one pupil is different than another, that is something that requires medical attention. If someone is very drowsy and they have like an inability to wake up, that is something we’re going to need to get more attention,” said Jaffe.
If you’re not sure what to do, doctors say err on the side of caution and get checked out.
Perfetti also weighed in on what you should do with sleeping after a head injury.
“It’s more about we don’t want you going to sleep because we want you to come in to get evaluated to make sure you don’t have something serious rather than the actual sleep doing anything to make the head injury worse,” said Dr. Perfetti.