First aid - Electrical injuries

First aid - Electrical injuries

Electrical injury is damage to the skin or internal organs when a person comes into direct contact with an electrical current.
The human body conducts electricity very well. That means, electricity passes very easily throughout the body. Direct contact with electrical current can be deadly. While some electrical burns look minor, there still may be serious internal damage, especially to the heart, muscles or brain.
Electric current can cause injury in three ways:
·         Cardiac arrest due to the electrical effect on the heart
·         Muscle, nerve and tissue destruction from a current passing through the body
·         Thermal burns from contact with the electrical source
Causes of Electrical Injury:

·         Accidental contact with exposed parts of electrical appliances or wiring
·         Flashing of electric arcs from high-voltage power lines
·         Lightning
·         Machinery or occupational-related exposures
Children biting or chewing on electrical cords or poking metal objects into an electrical outlet
Symptoms for Electrical Injury:
Symptoms depend on many things, including:
Ø  Type and strength of voltage
Ø  How long you were in contact with the electricity
Ø  How the electricity moved through your body

Symptoms may include:

Ø  Changes in alertness (consciousness)
Ø  Broken bones, Heart attack or Headache
Ø  Problems with swallowing, vision or hearing
Ø  Muscle spasms and pain
Ø  Numbness or tingling
Ø  Breathing problems or lung failure
Ø  Skin burns

First Aid for Electrical Injury:

Ø  If you can do so safely, turn off the electrical current. Unplug the cord, remove the fuse from the fuse box, or turn off the circuit breakers. Simply turning off an appliance may NOT stop the flow of electricity. Do NOT attempt to rescue a person near active high-voltage lines.
Ø  If the current can't be turned off, use a non-conducting object, such as a broom, wooden chair, rug, or rubber doormat to push the person away from the source of the current. Do not use a wet or metal object. If possible, stand on something dry and that doesn't conduct electricity, such as a rubber mat or folded newspapers.
Ø  Once the person is away from the source of electricity, check the person's airway, breathing, and pulse. If either has stopped or seems dangerously slow or shallow, perform Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) if you have been trained.
Ø  If the person has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily, and rinse the burned area in cool running water until the pain subsides. Give first aid for burns.
Ø  If the person is faint, pale, or shows other signs of shock, lay him or her down, with the head slightly lower than the trunk of the body and the legs elevated, and cover him or her with a warm blanket or a coat.
Ø  Stay with the person until medical help arrives.
Ø  Electrical injury is frequently associated with explosions or falls that can cause additional severe injuries. You may not be able to notice all of them. Do not move the person's head or neck if the spine may be injured.

Do Not:

Ø  Do not touch the person with your bare hands if the body is still touching the source of electricity
Ø  Do not apply ice, butter, ointments, medications, fluffy cotton dressings, or adhesive bandages to a burn
Ø  Do not remove dead skin or break blisters if the person has been burned
Ø  After the power is shut off, do not move the person unless there is a risk of fire or explosion


Ø  Always follow manufacturer's safety instructions when using electrical appliances
Ø  Avoid using electrical appliances while showering or wet
Ø  Keep children away from electrical devices, especially those that are plugged in
Ø  Never touch electrical appliances while touching cold water pipes
Ø  Teach children about the dangers of electricity
Ø  Use child safety plugs in all outlets
“Don’t be a stranger to electrical danger”


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