Understanding the Dangers of Electric Shocks: How They Occur and How to Avoid Them

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Understanding the Dangers of Electric Shocks: How They Occur and How to Avoid Them

When an electric current passes through the body, it is referred to as an "electric shock." Living tissue is a natural conductor of electricity and contains water. In actuality, the body uses electricity to deliver signals to internal organs like the heart and produces about 100 watts of power while at rest.

When an area of the body comes into contact with an external source of electricity, such as a damaged power line or a lightning strike, an electric shock is caused. In addition to internal harm, a shock can result in serious burns at the point of entry and exit.

The type of current, the tissue through which it flows, and the duration of prolonged contact with the current all affect how much harm is done.

Contact with an electric current from a tiny home appliance, wall outlet, or extension lead can result in an electric shock. Rarely do these shocks result in serious injuries or consequences.

Electric shocks can occasionally be fatal or extremely harmful. Whether you deal with electricity professionally or not, it's essential for everyone to understand how they happen and how to avoid them.

How electric shocks occur:

When an electric current travels from a live outlet to a bodily area, it causes an electric shock.

110 volts (V) Trusted Source is the standard domestic voltage used in American homes, while certain appliances require 240 V. Power and industrial lines may transport more than 100,000 V.

Deep burns can be brought on by high voltage currents of 500 V or more, whereas muscle spasms can be brought on by low voltage currents of 110–120 V.

When electricity travels through the human body, electric shocks happen. The quantity of electrical current, the length of the shock, and the route the current takes through the body all affect how painful an electric shock is.

It is crucial to employ adequate grounding and to steer clear of electrical sources that are improperly grounded since electricity constantly seeks the shortest route to the earth. A person may experience an electric shock if they come into contact with an electrical source because the electricity may flow through their body.

Burns, muscle spasms, cardiac issues, and even death can all be brought on by electric shocks.

Effects on the body:

Electrical current tries to exit the human body after entering it. This frequently entails sinking through the ground into the person's feet. Yet, if more than one area of the body is in contact with the source of the electricity, it may go through a different limb.

The severity of an electric shock injury is significantly influenced by the path the current takes through the body. For instance, if the electrical current travels into the chest, it may result in cardiac arrest or arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).

This is why it's crucial to wear safety gear when working with electrical systems, such as insulating gloves and boots.

Electrical currents cause many types of injuries:

Flash: Surface burns are frequently the result of a flash injury. They happen as a result of the heat from an electrical explosion known as an arc flash. The skin is not penetrated by the current.

Flame: These wounds happen when an arc flash sets off a person's clothing. The skin may or may not be penetrated by the current.

Lightning: These electrical discharges have a brief but strong voltage. A person's body is subject to the current.

It's accurate to say that the individual joins the circuit and that electricity flows into and out of the body.

First aid

Most minor electric shocks, such those caused by modest household equipment, don't require medical attention. But, if someone has been electrocuted, they should visit a doctor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source offers the following guidance for how bystanders should react in the event of a major electric shock:

i. Avoid touching the person because they might be in close proximity to an electrical source.

ii. Cut off the electricity supply if it is safe to do so. Use a nonconducting piece of wood, cardboard, or plastic to shift the source away if it's not safe.

iii. Once the electrical source has been eliminated, check the subject for a pulse and see if they are breathing. Start CPR right away if there is no pulse in the patient.

iv. Lay the person down with their head lower than their torso and their legs up if they are dizzy or pale.

v. It is forbidden to touch burns or take off burned clothing.


A person can perform CPR by:

Administering compressions: In the centre of the chest, stack one hand on top of the other. Apply compressions that are 2 inches deep by pressing down firmly and quickly. Delivering 100–120 compressions every 60 seconds is the goal.

Delivering rescue breaths: Make sure the person's mouth is clean first. Then blow into their lips to make their chest rise while tilting their head back, lifting their chin, pinching their nose shut. Give two rescue breaths and keep applying compressions.

Repeating the process: It is crucial to continue until assistance arrives or the person starts breathing.


The doctor will do a comprehensive physical examination at the emergency room to evaluate any potential exterior and internal harm. They'll probably want testing, which could include:

i. an electrocardiogram (EKG) to check the heartbeat

ii. a pregnancy test, which is only for pregnant women, to determine any effects on the unborn child

iii. a chest, spine, and brain CT scan

iv. blood tests to check for rhabdomyolysis

v. Blood tests and CT scans are only requested by medical professionals who suspect internal harm.

Preventing electric shocks:

Although electric shocks can be frightening, there are many safety measures you can take to lower the possibility of electrical injuries in and around your house.

To begin, make sure that all of your outlets are covered with child safety plugs and that all extension cords and electrical devices are stored away when not in use.

When handling electricity, always wear the appropriate safety gear. This covers gloves, goggles, and other safety equipment.

Ensure that all electrical equipment is grounded and maintained appropriately.

Avoid making touch with damaged or improperly grounded electrical sources.

Never contact an electrical source while standing in water or with wet hands.

Do not touch anybody who is being electrocuted. Alternatively, use a non-conductive material.

Why Does an Electro Shock Victim Die

It only takes three seconds of a current of 0.007 amps (7mA) through the heart to cause death. A body current of 100mA (0.1 amps) will almost likely be lethal.

Yet, the circuit's voltage and resistance play a role in determining how much current is involved in an electric shock. As the human body has a naturally strong resistance to electric current, it cannot be injured or killed by a harmful quantity of current if there is not enough voltage. A general rule of thumb is that it takes more than fifty volts to send a potentially fatal current through the body.

You can lessen the danger of electric shocks and keep yourself and others safe by being aware of how they happen and following the proper safety precautions.

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