In New Orleans, Mardi Gras is the most festive time of the year. The colors, lights, festivities and laid back atmosphere all make for a good time. Unfortunately, the things that make Mardi Gras great can also lead to overindulgence in parties and libations. A common injury during this time is a concussion as a result of a trip and fall, a fall off a float or fall sustained while scrambling for Mardi Gras throws.
Tips for avoiding a head injury and to stay safe during Carnival season include:
Be aware of your surroundings - Make sure to know where the neutral ground is versus where the sidewalk ends with regard to the street is important. This promotes solid footing that can help to keep your balance.
Alcohol in moderation - It is extremely important to reduce overindulgence with alcoholic beverages. Moderation is key. Alcohol is a known suppressant of the central nervous system as well as the mechanism that maintains balance within the brain and inner ear.
Be aware of crowds - To avoid a concussion during Carnival season, be aware of crowds. If you are a Mardi Gras veteran there may be a time to allow the rookies to scramble for the beads on the ground and to conserve your energy for the more desirable throws.
What to do if you suffer a head injury?
Should you sustain a head injury during Carnival season it is important to maintain consciousness initially. If there is depression of consciousness and signs such as weakness, slurred speech, nausea and vomiting, then an evaluation at an urgent or emergency facility is encouraged.
If someone has been cleared from a more life-threatening injury including skull fractures and brain bleeds and they’re sent home from the emergency room, then for the first 12-24 hours it is advised to resist the urge to sleep for a prolonged period of time. Most concussions and its symptoms can last anywhere from 7-14 days, however, they usually have a trajectory of improvement throughout that time.
Concussion symptoms can include:
- Cognitive slowing
- Emotional distress
- Sleep disturbance
- Lack of energy
If the symptoms persist or are intolerable, it is highly recommended to seek help from a professional who is well versed in concussion signs and treatment. Having a history of concussions, migraines, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, attention deficient disorder, dyslexia or a learning disability can be some of the factors that will prolong concussion symptoms.