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First aid: Electric shock

Touching a live wire can result in electric shock.(First aid)
Wear Protective equipment to prevent electric shock.

Electric shock can happen anywhere at home, office, or elsewhere. It may be due to faulty or old wiring or even fluctuations in the voltage. Electric shock are very painful and can cause burns depending on how high the voltage is and how much current has traveled through the body. Sometimes shocks don’t show burns on the skin but would have caused internal damage. The person is prone to cardiac arrest or other injuries.

Some severe electric shocks can leave the person with long-term effects and may leave serious burn injuries and scars permanently. If the electric shock has passed through the eyes, you may suffer from cataracts.

The electric shock can be got from:

  • When handling exposed wiring or parts of the appliance
  • When lightning strikes
  • When struck by electric arcs from high-voltage wiring
  • When running or in contact with machinery

Sometimes, even a small amount of electricity can cause death. People who get electric shocks can be affected differently, depending on their health condition and how quickly they can receive treatment. Sometimes, it may take ten days to release the extent of shock the victim may have suffered because it wasn’t apparent externally on the person. A mild electric shock can cause tingling in the arms and legs.

First aid

Turn off the electric supply before you touch the victim, or move the person away using a dry, non-conducting object. Check that the electrical connection is broken by unplugging the appliance, flipping the circuit breaker, and turning off the electric power. Avoid touching the victim who has come in contact with a high voltage wire and stay 20 feet away. Call the emergency immediately in such cases.

  • Keep the person lying down in case of neck, spinal, or head injury
  • Check if the person responds by speaking or nodding to communicate
  • If the person feels dizzy, let them lie down with their legs elevated slightly. If there are electric burns, use a light blanket to keep the person warm.
  • If severe burns occur, remove burned clothing that hasn’t stuck to the skin. Also, remove any jewelry and tight-fitting garments immediately, as the burnt area will swell.
  • Put some cold water on the burnt area or apply a moist cloth to keep the temperature normal. Avoid doing so if the burnt area is large, as the victim’s body may become too cold.
  • Do not touch the burnt area directly; use a sterile dressing (without loose fibers), preferably a cotton cloth.
  • Perform CPR if you see :
  1. No circulation
  2. No breathing
  3. No coughing
  4. No movement
  • Apply a bandage if there is an injury.
  • If it is a mild shock without burns, and the victim is experiencing pain, then pain medication can be given.

When do you have to seek medical assistance?

  • The person may be in a state of confusion and not responding coherently
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Suffers a cardiac arrest
  • The victim has extreme muscle pain and contractions in the body
  • May also suffer seizures
  • Loses consciousness

What can happen after an electrical shock?

  • The affected muscles are hip extensors. Depending on which muscle has been affected and the current intensity, the person can experience muscle spasms. If the intensity is high, the person may suffer from violent cramps.
  • The person can have muscle, ligament, and tendon tears because of the sudden contraction.
  • The tissues can also get burned.
  • If the person is injured and bleeding, applying pressure on the wound and elevating the limb can help stop the bleeding
  • Check the person for fractures and dislocations, perhaps after falling from the shock.
  • The person can suffer ventricular fibrillation
  • If the intensity of the current is high, there can be a cardiac arrest
  • Internal damage is caused by resistance to the electricity passing through the body. These damages are far more dangerous than external injuries
  • Internal injuries can cause
    1. Scarring
    2. Amputation
    3. Loss of function
    4. Loss of sensation
    5. Death
  • Due to the shock, a lot of tissue gets damaged and can cause severe problems with the kidney and blood circulation disorders.
  • The nervous system can be affected, and the victim may feel
    1. Pain
    2. Tingling
    3. Numbness
    4. Weakness
    5. Difficulty in moving a limb

The central nervous system will be affected and cause

    1. Dazed
    2. Amnesia
    3. Seizure
    4. Respiratory arrest
  • It can also injure blood vessels
  • It can also cause compartment syndrome if there is ample muscle damage and limbs begin to swell. These symptoms may show later.

When a person experiences an electric injury, after giving the affected person first aid, they need to see the doctor and check for any internal injuries because they won’t be visible outside. Adhering to precaution when using electrical equipment or appliances would help prevent many life-threatening situations.

  1. Health direct  Australia

Electric injuries

  1. HealthLinkBC Files

First Aid for Electrical injuries


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