Slip-and-fall accidents can leave anyone of any age with serious and potentially life-changing injuries. Older Floridians, though, may be particularly vulnerable to muscular damage, broken bones and traumatic brain injuries. In fact, about 36 million Americans over the age of 65 fall every single year, with roughly 32,000 dying from their injuries.
If your elderly relative hits his or her head during a fall, you should ensure he or she receives immediate medical attention. This is especially critical if there is clear fluid coming from your loved one’s ears or nose.
The brain sits in a sterile compartment inside the skull. Between the skull and the brain is cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid not only helps cushion and support the brain, but it also delivers nutrients and removes waste. Cerebrospinal fluid also performs these functions for the spinal cord.
A fluid leak
The thin membrane that holds cerebrospinal fluid in place is vulnerable to rupture during a slip-and-fall accident. Because there is little room between the sinusus, ear canals and this membrane, a rupture may cause cerebrospinal fluid to leak from the nose or ears.
If your loved one has a cerebrospinal fluid leak, he or she may also have a headache that seems to improve when lying down.
A medical emergency
For an older person, any traumatic brain injury is a medical emergency that requires immediate care. If your loved one does not receive treatment for a cerebrospinal fluid leak, he or she may develop meningitis, have a stroke or even die.
Unfortunately, comparatively harmless sinus and ear drainage may look similar to a cerebrospinal fluid leak. Because you and your loved one simply cannot know the difference, scheduling an appointment with a neurologist after a slip-and-fall accident may put everyone’s mind at ease.