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How should I care for someone with a head, neck, or spinal injury?

The best care you can give is to minimize movement of the person’s head, neck, and spine.
  • As long as the person is breathing, support the head and neck in the position found. Do this by placing your hands on both sides of the person’s head in the position in which you found it.
  • Support the person’s head in that position until emergency medical service (EMS) personnel take over supporting the person’s head.
 
  • If the head is sharply turned to one side, do not move it. Support the head and neck in the position found.
  • If a person with a suspected head, neck, or spinal injury is wearing a helmet, do not remove it unless you are specifically trained to do so and it is necessary to assess or access the person’s airway.
  • Minimize movement using the same manual technique you would use if the person were not wearing headgear.
  • The person may become confused, drowsy, or unconscious. Breathing may stop. The person may be bleeding. If the person is unconscious, keep the airway open and check breathing.
  • You should take steps to control severe bleeding and keep the person from getting chilled or overheated.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.