CUH Logo

Mobile menu open

Adult head injury

Patient information A-Z

This advice must be given to patients and an accompanying adult.

You have had a head injury. You have been given a thorough examination and are now considered fit to be discharged. Some people who have had a minor head injury later develop problems which occasionally can be serious. If you experience any of the following, please contact your nearest Emergency Department.

  • A persistent headache that has not improved with simple painkillers for example paracetamol.
  • You vomit more than twice.
  • You develop double vision
  • You have slurred speech

Additional advice for the accompanying adult

If you notice any of the following please contact your nearest emergency department:

  • Increased drowsiness.
  • Abnormal or unusual behaviour, such as aggression.
  • Fitting.
  • Slurred speech.

If you or your relative need further advice, please contact 111.

What to expect during recovery

Often people can feel unwell days after a head injury.

Common symptoms are:

  • Mild headache
  • Dizziness
  • Poor concentration or short term memory
  • Irritability or being easily annoyed
  • Poor sleep and tiredness

If you have any of these symptoms, do not worry because they should clear up in time without any treatment. If you still have symptoms after two weeks, you should see your own GP.

Non-urgent advice: Do:

  • Rest completely at home for at least 24 hours and have a responsible adult with you during this time.
  • Take painkillers suggested by the doctor.
  • Take your usual medication but do not take sedatives or tranquillisers.

Non-urgent advice: Do not:

  • Drive or operate machinery.
  • Do any gardening, shopping or carry out DIY or other strenuous activities.
  • Drink alcohol.
  • Take a bath (a shower is safer) for at least 24 hours.
  • Play contact sports for example football, rugby or horse riding for at least three weeks.
  • Return to sport or an occupation that involves balance or heights, such as, gymnastics or window cleaning for one week.


Headway is a charity that provides support to patients who have suffered a brain injury and have continuing problems.

The local group is:

Headway Cambridgeshire
Headway House
Mill Road
01223 576 550

Monday to Friday 09.00 – 17.00

Email Headway
Visit the Headway website (opens in a new tab)
Reg Charity no: 1062886

Privacy and dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and / or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151