Electrical Burns and Injuries
- Children bite on electrical cords
- Utensils or other metal objects are poked into electrical outlets or appliances, such as a plugged-in toaster
- The power supply is not shut down before making home repairs or installation
- A plugged-in appliance is dropped into water
- Occupations with exposure to electric currents, such as a utility worker
- Occupations involving outdoor work, such as agriculture
- Being outside during thunderstorms or in areas where thunderstorms are common
- Working with electrical installations or appliances without proper training
- Numbness or tingling
- Visible burns on the skin
- Feeling disoriented
- Low blood pressure which can lead to lightheadedness and weakness
- Heart arrhythmias which may be unnoticed or feel like flutters in the chest
- First-degree burns —Injury is only to the outer layer of skin. They are red and painful, and may cause some swelling. The skin turns white when touched.
- Second-degree burns —These burns are deeper and more severe. They cause blisters and the skin is very red or splotchy. There may be more significant swelling.
- Third-degree burns —These cause damage to all layers of the skin down to the tissue underneath. The burned skin looks white or charred. These burns may cause little or no pain because the nerves in the skin are destroyed.
|Classification of Skin Burns|
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- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)—if the heart has stopped beating, CPR can provide oxygen-rich air to the vital organs of the body until advanced care is reached
- Airway and breathing support
- IV fluids to restore balance in the body (may not be used for lightning strikes)
- Use child safety plugs in all outlets.
- Keep electrical cords out of children's reach.
- Avoid electrical hazards by following manufacturer's safety instructions when using electrical appliances. Always turn off circuit breakers before making repairs to wiring.
- Avoid using electrical appliances while showering or wet.
- Never touch electrical appliances while touching faucets or cold water pipes.
- Avoid being out in lightening storms. If you are outside seek safe shelter as soon as possible.
Burn Prevention Network http://www.burnprevention.org
Safe Kids Worldwide http://www.safekids.org
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Healthy Alberta http://www.healthyalberta.com
Electrical injury. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 26, 2013. Accessed November 3, 2014.
Electrical injuries. The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries%5Fpoisoning/electrical%5Fand%5Flightning%5Finjuries/electrical%5Finjuries.html. Updated March 2014. Accessed November 3, 2014.
Fire safety. Nemours Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid%5Fsafe/home/fire.html. Updated July 2011. Accessed November 3, 2014.
Fish RM, Geddes LA. Conduction of electrical current to and through the human body: A review. Eplasty. 2009;9:e44.
Lightning injuries. The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries%5Fpoisoning/electrical%5Fand%5Flightning%5Finjuries/lightning%5Finjuries.html. Updated March 2014. Accessed November 3, 2014.
Sanford A, Gamelli RL. Lightning and thermal injuries. handb Clin neurol. 2014;120:981-986.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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