First Aid for Electric Shock

Electric shock results when an electric current passes through the body, either from lightening or an artificially generated source. The impact ranges from a slight tingling to electrocution. Between these extremes, electricity may cause minor to major burns and temporary to irreversible tissue damage. A strong electric jolt may also produce traumatic shock, in which the body's vital processes are profoundly disturbed.

Internal injuries are directly related to the length of exposure time. For example, when lightning strikes, the voltage is high, but the duration of current flow is extremely brief. A lightning strike rarely causes burns, but it may disrupt the body's internal electrical impulses that control the brain and the heart.

First Aid for Electric Shock

If the shock occurred indoors, turn off the main electrical switch that provides power to the house.

If you can't turn off the power and you want to remove the person from the source of the shock, touch neither the person nor the source. Instead, stand on a nonconducting surface, such as a rubber mat or dry newspapers, and use a nonconducting object such as a dry wooden pole or a lopped, dry rope or cloth to move the person. Don't use anything even slightly damp.

If the person is unconscious, call the local emergency number (usually 911) and then check for both breathing and a pulse. If necessary, begin rescue breathing or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, while waiting for medical help.

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