Parents Following Outdated Concussion Advice, Survey Shows

(Photo: Getty Images)

(Photo: Getty Images)

A new survey has found that parents may be following outdated concussion advice — and causing more harm than good. A survey from the University of California has found that parents are waking their children up every few hours and restricting their activities too much, which could cause more damage.

UCLA Newsroom reports that 77 percent of parents questioned in the survey said they would likely wake their child up throughout the night. Doctors use several factors to gauge how well recovery from a concussion is going, and waking the child up might interfere with their work.

“Once a professional has diagnosed your child and determined that there is no further risk, let them sleep.In fact, we encourage sleep very early on because that will help the brain heal faster,” Says Dr. Christopher Giza, a pediatric neurologist.

The survey, which asked 569 parents nationwide how they would care for a child with a concussion, also found that 84 percent of parents would restrict their children from further activity. Doctors say this doesn’t help the recovery of the child and gentle aerobic exercise can aid in concussion recovery greatly.

As Carmen Chai reports for Global News, these are only a few of a handful of examples of the ways parents could make the situation worse. The survey also found that parents can cause inadvertent harm through cutting off social interactions. According to the survey, 64 percent of parents were likely to limit their child’s use of electronic devices, which could lead to depression and anxiety due to cutting off teenagers from their normal social routines.

Dr. Giza said, “These kids quickly start to worry about keeping up in their classes, losing social status and, if they are athletes, whether they will lose their place on the team. It’s important to ease them back into their social circles quickly, and that might mean being a little more permissive when it comes to social media and screen time.”

A child’s energy levels and mood are important factors in diagnosing conditions, notes Stephen Feller writing for UPI. Rest is a vitally important part of recovery from many injuries, including concussions, and doctors warn that parents should not worry so much after diagnosis unless symptoms persist two to three weeks after the injury occurs.

Another survey which compared recovery methods of two groups of children with concussions found that a more normal routine led to healthier children. The study compared one group of children who rested for a few days before returning to a normal schedule to a group of children who were prescribed five days of isolation and rest. The isolated group reported more symptoms and didn’t recover as quickly.

“The idea is to give them that initial rest and protect them from contact risk, but then start easing them back into intellectual, physical and social activity. Those things are all important in the healing process and shouldn’t be overlooked,” Dr. Giza says.

Treating a concussion properly after the initial injury can be vital in a quick and healthy recovery, points out Deena Centofanti for Fox2. If the proper treatment isn’t given immediately after the injury, it can greatly increase the recovery time and cause the injury to get worse.

Medical attention and opinion should be sought for diagnosis of a concussion.