It’s hard to imagine life without electricity in 2020. In today’s modern society, it provides everything in our life. We rely on it every day in the workplace when traveling and of course at home. Although most interactions with electricity occur without incident, electric shock can occur in any environment, including industrial and construction sites, manufacturing plants, or even your own home.
When someone is injured by an electric shock, it is important to know what steps to take to help the victim. In addition, you need to be aware of the potential risks associated with helping an electric shock victim and how to help without putting yourself in danger.
When an electric current touches or passes through the body, it is called an electric shock. This can happen wherever there is electricity. The consequences of electric shock range from minimal and non-hazardous injury to severe injury or death. Approximately 5% of hospital admissions to burn departments are associated with an electric shock. Anyone who suffers from high voltage shock or electrical burns should seek immediate medical attention.
What is Electric Shock?
A person can get an electric shock from faulty electrical wiring. An electric shock occurs when an electrical current is passed from an energized outlet to a specific part of the body.
An electrical injury can result from contact with:
- faulty electrical appliances or equipment;
- household wiring;
- power lines;
- lightning strike;
- electrical outlets.
There are four main types of electrical contact injury:
Flash, Short Impact: Sudden injury usually causes superficial burns. They result from the formation of an arc, which is a type of electrical discharge. The current does not penetrate the skin.
Ignition: These injuries occur when an electrical discharge causes a person’s clothing to catch fire. The current may or may not pass through the skin.
Lightning strike: Injury associated with a short but high voltage of electrical energy. The current flows through the human body.
Closing the circuit: The person becomes part of the circuit and electricity enters and exits the body.
Shocks from electrical outlets or small appliances rarely cause serious injury. However, prolonged contact with electricity can be harmful.
What is the danger of electric shock?
The degree of danger of injury depends on the “release” threshold – current strength and voltage. The release threshold is the level at which a person’s muscles contract. This means that he cannot let go of the source of electricity until someone safely removes it. We will clearly show what is the body’s reaction to different amperages, measured in milliamperes (mA):
- 0.2 – 1 mA – there is an electrical sensation (tingling, electric shock);
- 1 – 2 mA – there is a painful sensation;
- 3 – 5 mA – release threshold for children;
- 6 – 10 mA – minimum release threshold for adults;
- 10 – 20 mA – cramp may occur at the point of contact;
- 22mA – 99% of adults cannot let go of the wire;
- 20 – 50 mA – convulsions are possible;
- 50 – 100 mA – Life-threatening heart rhythm may occur.
Household electricity in some countries is 110 volts (V), in our country, it is 220 V, some appliances need 360 V. Industrial lines and power lines can withstand voltages in excess of 100,000 V. High voltage currents of 500 V or more can cause deep burns. and low voltage currents of 110 – 120 V can cause muscle spasms.
A person can get an electric shock if they come into contact with an electric shock from a small household appliance, wall socket, or extension cord. These shocks rarely cause serious injury or complications.
Approximately half of all deaths from electric shock occur in the workplace. Occupations with a high risk of non-fatal electric shock include:
- construction, leisure, and hospitality;
- education and health care;
- accommodation and catering services;
Several factors can influence the severity of an electric shock, including:
- current strength;
- type of current – alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC);
- which part of the body the current reaches;
- how long a person is under the influence of current;
- resistance to current.
Symptoms and Effects of Electric Shock
The symptoms of electric shock depend on many factors. Low voltage discharge injuries are likely to be superficial, and prolonged exposure to electric shock can cause deeper burns.
Secondary injuries can result from electric shock to internal organs and tissues. The person may jerk, which could result in loss of balance or fall and injury to another part of the body.
Short-term side effects. Depending on the severity, the immediate consequences of an electrical injury may include:
- tingling or numbness of body parts;
- loss of consciousness;
Some people may experience discomfort but have no visible physical damage, while others may experience severe pain and obvious tissue damage. Those who have not experienced serious injury or heart abnormalities within 24 to 48 hours of an electric shock are unlikely to develop them.
More serious side effects can include:
- to whom;
- acute cardiovascular disease;
- respiratory arrest.
Long-term side effects. One study found that people who received an electric shock were no more likely to develop heart problems 5 years after the incident than those who did not. A person can experience a variety of symptoms, including psychological, neurological, and physical symptoms. They can include:
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
- memory loss;
- poor concentration;
- anxiety, tingling, headache;
- limited range of motion;
- decreased concentration of attention;
- loss of balance;
- muscle spasms;
- memory loss;
- joint problems;
- panic attacks;
- inconsistent movements;
- night sweats.
Anyone who has been burned by electric shock or suffered from electric shock should seek medical help.
First aid for electric shock
Minor electric shock, such as from small appliances, usually does not require treatment. However, a person should see a doctor if they receive an electric shock.
If someone is hit by a high voltage, an ambulance should be called immediately. In addition, it is important to know how to respond correctly:
- Do not touch people as they can still come into contact with the electricity source.
- If it is safe to do so, disconnect the power supply. If unsafe, use a non-conductive object of wood, cardboard, or plastic to move the source away from the victim.
- As soon as they are outside the area of the source of electricity, check the person’s pulse and see if he is breathing. If their breathing is shallow, start resuscitation immediately.
- If the person is weak or pale, place him so that his head is lower than his body and his legs are raised.
- A person should not touch burns or remove burnt clothing.
To perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), you must:
- Place your hands one on top of the other in the middle of your chest. Using your body weight, press down hard and quickly and compress 4 to 5 cm deep. The goal is to do 100 compressions in 60 seconds.
- Give artificial respiration. To do this, make sure the person’s mouth is clean, tilt your head back, lift your chin, pinch your nose, and blow into your mouth to lift your chest. Take two artificial breaths and continue compressing.
- Repeat this process until help arrives or until the person is breathing.
- In the emergency room, your doctor will do a thorough physical exam to assess potential external and internal damage. Possible tests include:
- an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor your heart rate
- computed tomography (CT) to check the health of the brain, spine, and chest;
- blood tests.
How to protect yourself from electric shock?
Electric shock and the injury they can cause range from minor to severe. Electric shock is common in the home, so check your home appliances regularly for damage.
People who work nearby when installing electrical systems must take extra care and always follow safety precautions. If a person suffers a serious electric shock, give first aid if safe to do so and call an ambulance.
When to see a doctor if you have an electric shock?
Not every person affected by electric shock needs to go to the emergency room. Follow this advice:
- call 112 if a person has been hit by a high voltage of 500 V or more;
- go to the emergency room if the person received a low voltage electric shock that resulted in a burn – do not try to treat the burn at home;
- If a person is not burned by a low voltage shock, see a doctor make sure that there is no damage.
Electric shock may not always result in visible injury. Depending on how high the voltage was, the injury could be fatal. However, if a person has experienced an initial electric shock, they should seek medical attention to make sure no injury has occurred.
How serious can an electric shock get?
If a person comes into contact with a source of electrical energy, an electrical current flows through part of their body, causing shock. The electrical current that passes through the body of an injured person can cause internal injury, cardiac arrest, burns, fractures, and even death.
A person will experience electric shock if a part of the body closes an electrical circuit:
- touching a live wire and electrical ground;
- touching a live wire and another wire with a different voltage.
The danger of electric shock depends on many factors. First, the type of current that the victim is exposed to AC or DC. The path that electricity travels through the body and how high the voltage is also affect the level of potential hazards. A person’s general health and the time it takes to heal an injured person will also affect the level of danger.
What is important to remember when providing assistance?
For most of us, the first impulse is to rush to the wounded in an attempt to save them. However, such steps in such an incident can only worsen the situation. Without hesitation, you could get an electric shock. Remember, your own safety comes first. After all, you cannot help if you are electrocuted.
Do not move a person who has received an electric shock unless they are in immediate danger. If the victim falls from a height or receives a severe impact, he could sustain multiple injuries, including serious neck injury. It is best to wait for the arrival of an ambulance specialist to avoid further injury.
Stop first and look around the area where the incident occurred for obvious dangers. Do not touch the victim with your bare hands if they are still in contact with the electric current, because electricity can flow through the victim in you.
Do not go near high voltage wires until you turn off the power. Disconnect electrical power if possible. You can do this by turning off the current in the power supply, circuit breaker, or fuse box.