When you come in direct contact with electricity, it can pass through your body and cause injuries. These electrical injuries can be external or internal. You may have one or both types. External injuries are skin burns. Internal injuries include damage to your organs, bones, muscles, and nerves. You could also have abnormal heart rhythms and sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
How bad your injuries are depends on how strong the electric current was, what type of current it was, how it moved through your body, and how long you were exposed. Other factors include how healthy you are, and how quickly you get treatment.
Causes of electrical injuries include:
- Lightning strikes
- Faulty electrical appliances
- Work-related exposures
- Contact with household wiring or power lines
- Accidents in small children, when they bite or suck on electrical cords, or stick objects in outlets
If you get an electrical injury, you should see a doctor. You may have internal damage and not realize it.
- Electric Shock Injuries in Children (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Electrical Burns: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Electrical Shock: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Emergency Preparedness and Response - Lightning (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Home Electrical Safety Checklist (Consumer Product Safety Commission) - PDF
- Lightning Injuries (Merck & Co., Inc.) Also in Spanish
- Lightning Safety Tips and Resources (National Weather Service)
- Protect Yourself and Others from Electrical Hazards after a Disaster (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish