How to treat a lump on the head

Updated February 21, 2017

If you are with someone who gets hit in the head, the first hour is important to determine whether the lump or injury is dangerous. Whether you are treating the head lump of a child, a friend or another family member, it is important to act quickly and calmly in order to determine the best course of action. Although most head lumps do not require medical care, some are dangerous and do need quick and immediate care. Know the warning signs.

Lay the patient down immediately after head trauma. Place the patient on her back with her head completely straight and elevated slightly. Turn off all the lights in the room to relax and soothe the patient.

Stop the bleeding. Place a piece of gauze or cloth over the head wound and press firmly until bleeding stops.

Watch for danger signs. Head lumps are dangerous when intracranial hematoma, or bleeding in and around the brain, occurs. If the patient has a headache that stays the same or gets worse over an hour, has trouble keeping his balance, is vomiting, dizzy, unconscious or experiences severe mood changes, call 911 immediately, as these are signs of serious head trauma.

Reduce the swelling. A head lump occurs when the tissue surrounding the scalp becomes inflamed. Although a head lump may look serious, if it is not accompanied by any of the symptoms in Step 3, the head lump is most likely not dangerous. Continue to monitor the head lump over the next few days while applying a frozen washcloth to the lump for 15 minutes once per hour to address swelling.

Contact a doctor if over the next few days, the patient experiences confusion, unconsciousness, severe bleeding, headaches, or any of the danger symptoms in Step 3. Treatment may include prescription medication like codeine for pain.


Ask your patient his address and other familiar questions to. Memory loss and confusion can signal severe head trauma.


If head trauma is accompanied by bleeding that will not stop, go to the emergency room immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • a frozen washcloth
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