If you’ve been involved in an auto accident and feel generally okay, you might choose to go home rather than to see a doctor right away. Before you make that decision, it’s a good idea to remember that there could be internal injuries that you’re not yet aware of.
Many people feel fine immediately after a crash, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t seek medical attention. In fact, seeking help may help you avoid catastrophic complications from injuries that have gone without treatment for too long.
Watch for signs of bruising, because they tell the truth about what’s happening inside
Bruising isn’t something to ignore. While some minor bruises on the arms or hips might not be significant, a bruise that grows or changes on the abdomen or chest could be extremely dangerous.
Bruising around the torso or chest could mean that there is a laceration or puncture under the skin and that blood is pooling inside the abdominal cavity or chest cavity. It is physically possible to bleed out internally, so if you see a bruise that has changed by growing larger or spreading out, seek medical care as soon as you can.
Severe abdominal pain may accompany bruising if there is a tear inside the body, and this is a medical emergency. Similarly, bruising around the chest and difficulty breathing could be signs of blood or fluids pooling into an area that is putting pressure on the lungs.
How can you tell that a bruise is serious?
Not every bruise is going to be serious, even after a crash. Signs that you need to have a bruise examined include:
- If you have a loss of function in an area around a bruise
- If the bruise has a lump under it
- If the bruise is increasing in density or size
After a car crash, it’s a good idea to go to the hospital if you have bruising, so you can have the area examined for internal bleeding. It’s better to be safe in these situations, because internal injuries can quickly go from bad to worse while potentially putting your life at risk.