Thanks to the recent uptick in news stories about concussions, much of society no longer considers brain injuries to be minor matters. Unfortunately, though, serious traumatic brain injuries continue to be alarmingly common in the U.S. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 176 Americans die from TBIs every single day.
Death is not the only serious complication you may suffer following a TBI, of course. If a blow to your head causes a thin membrane to break, you may have to deal with a cerebrospinal fluid leak. Consequently, if you have a runny nose after hitting your head, you should seek immediate medical attention.
What does cerebrospinal fluid do?
Cerebrospinal fluid is a clear liquid that surrounds your brain, brain stem and spinal cord. This fluid serves a couple of important purposes. First, it helps to deliver vital nutrients to your central nervous system. Likewise, your cerebrospinal fluid assists with waste removal when you are asleep.
How can your cerebrospinal fluid leak?
Your cerebrospinal fluid remains in place thanks to a delicate membrane. If you sustain a TBI, this membrane is vulnerable to rupturing. After the membrane breaks, clear fluid may drip from your nose, causing you to believe you have a runny nose from a common cold or seasonal allergies.
Why should you seek treatment?
By itself, losing cerebrospinal fluid should be enough to encourage you to seek medical treatment. If you need another reason, though, you should think about your infection risk. That is, those with cerebrospinal fluid leaks have an increased chance of developing meningitis or another potentially deadly infection.
Ultimately, to improve your odds of recovering completely from a cerebrospinal fluid leak, you must pursue an accurate diagnosis and follow your doctor’s treatment plan.