Electric shock occurs when a person is exposed to an electrical energy source which causes electricity to flow through the person’s body causing a shock. Generally, exposure to electric energy may result in no injuries or may result in serious injury or even death, depending on how powerful the electrical energy source is and how long the person was exposed.
The most common sources that people get electric shocks from are electrical appliances, electric wires, and electrical circuitry but people can also get electric shocks from lightning strikes, a rare natural form of electric shock that can be fatal.
Furthermore, burns are the most common injury that a person gets from an electric shock and lightning strike.
Signs and symptoms of electric shock
- At first, burns, usually at the point where contact was with the electrical source
- Other injuries caused by forceful muscular contraction
- Pain in a hand or foot or a deformity in the body which may indicate a fracture caused by violent muscle contraction due to the electric shock
Generally, if someone sustained a high-voltage electric shock, immediately call 911. If you don’t know the voltage, seek medical attention.
At the hospital, the primary concern of the doctor is if there are any unseen injuries due to the electric shock.
Short exposure to low-voltage shocks that don’t cause any symptoms or burns to the skin doesn’t usually require medical care. For any high-voltage shocks or shocks that cause burns, call 911 and seek medical care immediately to have a doctor evaluate how far the damages extend to.
You can prevent electric shocks with numerous tips and methods; these include:
- Wearing the appropriate protective clothing in your work environment.
- Childproofing your home by covering sockets and protecting wires
- Ensuring that the power is off before working with equipment
- Avoid using electrical devices near water
- Use caution while outdoors during a thunderstorm
The details posted on this page on electric shock is for learning purposes only. To learn how it is managed, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.