X-Rays, Blood Tests Not Advised for Children's Concussions

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CT scans may be warranted in the case of vomiting, unconsciousness, and severe, worsening headaches.
CT scans may be warranted in the case of vomiting, unconsciousness, and severe, worsening headaches.

HealthDay News — Routine X-rays and blood tests should not be used to diagnose children's concussions, new U.S. government guidelines say. The guidelines were published online Sept. 4 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Computed tomography scans may be warranted if there are signs of more serious concussion, such as vomiting, unconsciousness, and severe, worsening headaches, according to the guidelines released yesterday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Associated Press reported. Parents should be reassured that in most cases, children's concussion symptoms go away within one to three months, state the guidelines based on analysis of 25 years of scientific research.

The guidelines recommend that immediately after a concussion from any cause, children should refrain from physical and mental activity, including school and sports, and then gradually resume normal activities, the AP reported.

Parents should emphasize to their children the need to report any concussion symptoms right away, guidelines coauthor and CDC brain injury specialist Matthew Breiding, PhD, advised, the AP reported. "Some children and teens think concussions aren't serious or worry that if they report a concussion they will lose their position on the team or look weak. Remind them that it's better to miss one game than the whole season," he said.

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