Electric Shock Overview

An electrical shock occurs as soon as a human comes into call with an electric energy source. Electrical energy flows with a section of the body leading to a shock. Exposure to electrical energy may result in no injury at every or may an outcome in devastating damages or death.

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Burns are the most common injury from electric shock.

Electric Shock Causes

Adolescents and adults room prone to high voltage shock caused by naughty exploration and exposure in ~ work. About 1,000 civilization in the United states die every year as a an outcome of electrocution. Many of this deaths are related to on-the-job injuries.

Many variables recognize what injuries may occur, if any. These variables encompass the type of present (AC or DC), the lot of existing (determined by the voltage of the source and the resistance the the tissues involved), and the pathway the power takes with the body. Low voltage power (less than 500 volts) walk not typically cause significant injury to humans. Exposure come high voltage electrical energy (greater 보다 500 volts) has the potential to an outcome in major damage.

If you room going to assist someone who has actually sustained a high voltage shock, you must be really careful that you don"t come to be a 2nd victim the a similar electrical shock. If a high voltage line has fallen to the ground, there might be a one of present spreading the end from the guideline of the line. Your finest bet might be to call 911. The electric company will be notified so the the power have the right to be close up door off. A victim who has fallen from a elevation or sustained a significant shock resulting in multiple jerks may have actually a significant neck injury and also should not be relocated without very first protecting the neck.

Children are not frequently seriously injured by electricity. They room prone to shock through the low voltage (110-220 volts) found in common household current. In youngsters aged 12 years and younger, family appliance electric cords and extension cords caused more than 63% of injuries in one study. Wall outlets to be responsible for 15% that injuries.

Electric Shock Symptoms

A person who has actually suffered an electrical shock may have very little external proof of injury or might have noticeable severe burns. The person can even it is in in cardiac arrest.

Burns room usually many severe at the points of contact with the electrical source and the ground. The hands, heels, and head are typical points that contact.Pain in a hand or foot or a deformity the a part of the human body may suggest a feasible broken bone result from the electrical shock.In children, the typical electrical mouth burn indigenous biting an electric cord shows up as a burn top top the lip. The area has a red or dark, burned appearance.

When come Seek clinical Care

For a high-voltage shock, seek care at a hospital"s emergency department. Adhering to a low-voltage shock, contact the medical professional for the adhering to reasons:

Burns that are not healing wellBurns with increasing redness, soreness, or drainageAny electric shock in a pregnant woman

A human being shocked by high voltage (500 volts or more) should be evaluated in the emergency department. It might be way to gain prehospital care, usually derived by call 911. Adhering to a low-voltage shock, walk to the emergency department because that the following concerns:

Any period of unconsciousnessConfusionDifficulty breathingSeizuresAny electrical shock if you"re much more than 20 weeks" pregnantAny various other worrisome symptoms

Exams and Tests

At the Emergency Department, the doctor"s primary worry is to recognize if far-ranging unseen injury exists. Injury may happen to muscles, the heart, or the mind from the power or to any kind of bones or various other organs from gift thrown indigenous the electric source.

The doctor might order miscellaneous tests relying on the background and physics examination. Tests might include any kind of or nobody of the following:

ECG to examine the heartComplete blood countBlood or urine test or both because that muscle enzyme (would indicate significant muscle injury)CT scan

Electric Shock treatment Self-Care in ~ Home

Brief low-voltage shocks that execute not an outcome in any symptoms or burns the the skin carry out not need care. For any type of high-voltage shock, or for any shock bring about burns, seek treatment at a hospital"s emergency department. A doctor must evaluate electric cord burns come the mouth of a child.

Medical Treatment

Treatment relies on the severity that the burns or the nature of other injuries found.

Burns space treated according to severity.Minor burns may be treated v topical antibiotic ointment and also dressings.More significant burns may require surgical procedure to clean the wounds or also skin grafting.Other injuries might require treatment.Broken bones need splinting, casting, or surgical treatment to stabilize the bones.Internal injuries may require observation or surgery.

Next procedures Prevention

Steps to prevent electrical injury depend mostly on the period of civilization involved.

For youngsters younger than 12 years, most electric injuries are resulted in by strength cords. Check your power cords and also extension cords. Replace any type of cords the have broken or cracked outside covering and any cord that has actually exposed wire.Do not allow children come play with any kind of electrical cord.Limit usage of expansion cords and also be certain the cord is rated because that the present (measured in amps) that will certainly be attracted by the an equipment being powered.Use outlet consists to defend infants indigenous exploring electric outlets.Update old, ungrounded electric outlets to grounded (3-prong) systems. Replace outlets near any type of water (sink, tub) v fused (GFCI) outlets.In youngsters older 보다 12 years, most electric injuries an outcome from experimenting and tasks around high-power systems. Explain to adolescent youngsters that they have to not rise on strength towers, play close to transformer systems, or discover electrified train rails or other electric systems.Among adults, usage of usual sense can aid reduce electric injury. World who job-related with power should always check the the power is off before working on electrical systems. Stop use of any type of electrical maker near water. Be careful of standing in water as soon as working through electricity.Use caution when outdoors throughout a thunderstorm comprise lightning. Protect yourself from lightning strikes by seeking sanctuary in a sturdy structure or crouching low and away indigenous trees and also metal objects if caught outdoors.



Recovery from electrical shock counts on the nature and also severity of the injuries. The percentage of the body surface ar area melted is the most necessary factor affecting prognosis.

If someone who has received an electric shock does not suffer instant cardiac arrest and does not have severe burns, they are likely to survive.

Infection is the most common reason of death in people hospitalized following electric injury.

Electrical damages to the mind may an outcome in a permanent seizure disorder, depression, anxiety, or various other personality changes.


Media record 1: electric shock, contact injury to hand. Picture by Timothy G. Price, MD.


Media record 2: electrical shock burns early out to current flow through steel framed glasses. Photograph by Timothy G. Price, MD.


Media paper 3: electric shock injury come the foot. Picture courtesy of william Smock, MD.

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Media paper 4: electrical shock injury to the hand. Photo courtesy of william Smock, MD.


Synonyms and also Keywords

electric shock, electrocution, electric burn, high voltage shock