Tag Archives: electrical injury

Straight, No Chaser: Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Electrical Injuries

In a previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed the “what” of electrical injuries and lightning. In this post, we discuss the “what-to-do” and “what-not-to-do” if and when you find yourself shocked or caring for someone else who was.
Let’s begin with prevention. It is easier for you to avoid a hazardous situation than to have to deal with it while injured. Let’s start with the children.

 electrical-outlet-child-proof

  • Talk to your children about electricity. Review hazardous and safe behaviors.
  • Use child safety plugs in all electrical outlets. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone anymore.
  • Take the next step and keep all electrical cords out of children’s reach.
  • Keep children away from electrical devices, especially those plugged in.
  • Intermittently check electrical cords, and make sure they aren’t cut or split with loose, exposed wiring visible and accessible.
  • Take the extra step of reading and following manufacturer’s safety instructions when using electrical appliances. Learning the right places to plug live wires on the fly is not the best idea.
  • Stay away from electrical devices while wet. This includes touching faucets or pipes while using them. Take the time to take the extra step.
  • Learn where the power boxes are in your house. If you ever need to turn them off, the first step is knowing the correct location for them.

Lineman_Rescue

Now, let’s review steps NOT to take if you’re electrocuted or near someone who was.

  • Don’t touch someone still in contact with the source of the electricity. The body is an excellent conductor of electrical current, and you’ll become part of the link.
  • Not only should you not touch, you shouldn’t even get close. Stay at least 20 feet (about three to four body lengths) away from someone being electrocuted until the power is turned off. The high-voltage current of power lines can dance their way onto you if given the opportunity.
  • Regardless of the distance, don’t try to rescue someone near an active high-voltage power line.
  • Don’t play doctor. If the power does get shut off, don’t move the victim. You’re likely to cause more harm than good. The force associated with electrical injuries often cause injuries, including to the head or spine. The exception to this would be the presence of a fire or the risk of an explosion.
  • Don’t play doctor, part two: Forget what you’ve heard. Please don’t slather the burns with butter or apply ice, ointment or any other medications. In fact, avoid placing any type of adhesive dressing or big bulky dressings. Your best move is to spend that time on the phone with emergency medical services.
  • You’re still not a doctor! Avoid the urge to break open burn blisters or peel off dead skin. Sometimes don’t-do-something-just-stand-there is the best course of action.

Ok, you really want to do something to help? Here are safe, reasonable steps to take. 

  • First things first: Ensure your own safety, whether from the electricity, any fire or possibility of an explosion. If there’s any water on the floor while this is occurring get out while you can.

shut off powerbox

  • Take advantage of your being smart enough to have learned how to cut off the power and do so. I’d recommend working backwards in this order: turn off the circuit breakers, remove the fuse from the fuse box, and unplug the cord. Remember, appliances can still allow for electrical current flow even in the off position. Simply cutting it off might neither be safe nor effective.
  • Call your local emergency medical service number (e.g., 911) at the first safe opportunity.

electrocution1

  • If the current can’t be turned off, and you determine it is safe to do so, find something made of rubber or another non-conducting material, such as a broom, chair or rug to push the person away from the source of the current. Don’t even think about using metal or something wet. Whenever you’re doing whatever you’re doing, stand on something rubber.
  • Do you know CPR? You may need it here. If the victim is no longer near the source of electricity, take needed steps. One very simple yet effective step is to raise the legs about the level of the heart. Again, avoid movement of the head, neck or lower spine.
  • If the person has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily without disturbing the rest of the body. Rinse any burns in cool running water until the pain subsides, and if possible give first aid. Do not go to great lengths here. The ambulance is likely to arrive before you get to do much here.
  • Stay with the victim until medical assistance arrives, unless the situation demands a quit exit.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Electrical Injuries and Lightning Strikes

Electricalinjurydanger

As I watch lightning lighting up the sky, it makes me wonder if anyone out there is unlucky enough to be getting struck. The annual probability of being struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 280,000, which is a lot more frequent than makes me comfortable. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses concerns and frequently asked questions on electrical injuries.
Why is getting shocked a big deal?
The human body conducts electricity very well, meaning when an external current is attached to us, it runs through the body with ease. This provides a lot of opportunity to cause damage. That damage in the wrong place can kill.
How does getting shocked cause damage?
There are three different paths by which electrical current (“getting shocked”) can cause damage.

electrical_burn_to_foot

  • On the way in and out, electrical current is likely to cause burns to the skin (thermal burns, aka entry and exit wounds).
  • An electrical current can cause destruction to several tissues, including muscles and nerves.
  • As electrical currents reach the heart, they can be disruptive to the heart’s electrical current, even causing it to stop.

What are some common causes of electrical injuries?
The dangers are all around you and in many instances occur because you don’t respect the power and danger of the electricity you use.

electrical injury lineman

  • If you have a job involving machinery or working with electricity, you can’t afford to get comfortable, because that’s when mistakes and injuries occur.

electricalpediatricburns_3

  • If you have electrical outlets that aren’t childproofed, then it stands to reason that eventually someone might place a metal object into that outlet, receiving a shock – or worse.

electrical-equipmentfrayed

  • If you have electrical appliances with worn, frayed and exposed wiring and you come in contact with the wire while it’s plugged in, you will be shocked.

electrical-injury-power lines

  • You live near a high-voltage power line? Beware of flashing electric arcs, which are looking for somewhere to land.

electricalgolferinjury

  • Thunder and lightning outside? Don’t be the golfer or other nature-lover wielding metal or otherwise unnecessarily exposing yourself to a rather large bolt. When you hear the thunder, the lightning is closer than you may think, relatively speaking.

What are the types of injuries I may receive?
Symptoms related to electrical injuries are numerous and varied. Here are a few examples.

electricalgolfinjury

  • Burns are common. The skin is likely to be pierced and burned on the way in and on the way out, producing “exit wounds” from the burn. Additionally, your sweat can be converted to steam and produce burns that way. Children who bite something with an active electrical current can receive a burn to the lip and experience delayed yet significant bleeding from the lip.

electrical lip-burn

  • The parts of the body that rely heavily on electric current are likely to be involved and damaged. This means you may experience the symptoms of a heart attack, an irregular heartbeat, numbness and tingling in your arms or legs from nerve damage or abnormal contractions of your muscles, which you’ll perceive as spasms and pain.
  • Similar effects on the brain may produce seizures and/or altered mental status.
  • The blast caused by an electrical injury can rupture a lung or your eardrums. Lung failure, shortness of breath and difficulty hearing may result.
  • The jolt caused by an electrical injury can sufficiently throw you such that secondary injuries can occur, including broken bones.
  • Combinations of the above mechanisms can produce additional symptoms such as headache, visual disturbances and problems swallowing.
  • Death may occur. Fortunately, even with the “ultimate” electrical injury (a lightning strike), 90% of victims still survive.

A separate Straight, No Chaser will address treatment and prevention considerations related to electrical injuries. In the meantime, look before you get shocked.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.jeffreysterlingbooks.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Electrical Injuries

In a previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed the “what” of electrical injuries and lightning. In this post, we discuss the “what-to-do” and “what-not-to-do” if and when you find yourself shocked or caring for someone else who was.
Let’s begin with prevention. It is easier for you to avoid a hazardous situation than to have to deal with it while injured. Let’s start with the children.

 electrical-outlet-child-proof

  • Talk to your children about electricity. Review hazardous and safe behaviors.
  • Use child safety plugs in all electrical outlets. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone anymore.
  • Take the next step and keep all electrical cords out of children’s reach.
  • Keep children away from electrical devices, especially those plugged in.
  • Intermittently check electrical cords, and make sure they aren’t cut or split with loose, exposed wiring visible and accessible.
  • Take the extra step of reading and following manufacturer’s safety instructions when using electrical appliances. Learning the right places to plug live wires on the fly is not the best idea.
  • Stay away from electrical devices while wet. This includes touching faucets or pipes while using them. Take the time to take the extra step.
  • Learn where the power boxes are in your house. If you ever need to turn them off, the first step is knowing the correct location for them.

Lineman_Rescue

Now, let’s review steps NOT to take if you’re electrocuted or near someone who was.

  • Don’t touch someone still in contact with the source of the electricity. The body is an excellent conductor of electrical current, and you’ll become part of the link.
  • Not only should you not touch, you shouldn’t even get close. Stay at least 20 feet (about three to four body lengths) away from someone being electrocuted until the power is turned off. The high-voltage current of power lines can dance their way onto you if given the opportunity.
  • Regardless of the distance, don’t try to rescue someone near an active high-voltage power line.
  • Don’t play doctor. If the power does get shut off, don’t move the victim. You’re likely to cause more harm than good. The force associated with electrical injuries often cause injuries, including to the head or spine. The exception to this would be the presence of a fire or the risk of an explosion.
  • Don’t play doctor, part two: Forget what you’ve heard. Please don’t slather the burns with butter or apply ice, ointment or any other medications. In fact, avoid placing any type of adhesive dressing or big bulky dressings. Your best move is to spend that time on the phone with emergency medical services.
  • You’re still not a doctor! Avoid the urge to break open burn blisters or peel off dead skin. Sometimes don’t-do-something-just-stand-there is the best course of action.

Ok, you really want to do something to help? Here are safe, reasonable steps to take. 

  • First things first: Ensure your own safety, whether from the electricity, any fire or possibility of an explosion. If there’s any water on the floor while this is occurring get out while you can.

shut off powerbox

  • Take advantage of your being smart enough to have learned how to cut off the power and do so. I’d recommend working backwards in this order: turn off the circuit breakers, remove the fuse from the fuse box, and unplug the cord. Remember, appliances can still allow for electrical current flow even in the off position. Simply cutting it off might neither be safe nor effective.
  • Call your local emergency medical service number (e.g., 911) at the first safe opportunity.

electrocution1

  • If the current can’t be turned off, and you determine it is safe to do so, find something made of rubber or another non-conducting material, such as a broom, chair or rug to push the person away from the source of the current. Don’t even think about using metal or something wet. Whenever you’re doing whatever you’re doing, stand on something rubber.
  • Do you know CPR? You may need it here. If the victim is no longer near the source of electricity, take needed steps. One very simple yet effective step is to raise the legs about the level of the heart. Again, avoid movement of the head, neck or lower spine.
  • If the person has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily without disturbing the rest of the body. Rinse any burns in cool running water until the pain subsides, and if possible give first aid. Do not go to great lengths here. The ambulance is likely to arrive before you get to do much here.
  • Stay with the victim until medical assistance arrives, unless the situation demands a quit exit.
  • Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
    Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
    Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
    Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

 

Straight, No Chaser: Electrical Injuries and Lightning Strikes

Electricalinjurydanger

As I watch lightning lighting up the sky, it makes me wonder if anyone out there is unlucky enough to be getting struck. The annual probability of being struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 280,000, which is a lot more frequent than makes me comfortable. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses concerns and frequently asked questions on electrical injuries.
Why is getting shocked a big deal?
The human body conducts electricity very well, meaning when an external current is attached to us, it runs through the body with ease. This provides a lot of opportunity to cause damage. That damage in the wrong place can kill.
How does getting shocked cause damage?
There are three different paths by which electrical current (“getting shocked”) can cause damage.

electrical_burn_to_foot

  • On the way in and out, electrical current is likely to cause burns to the skin (thermal burns, aka entry and exit wounds).
  • An electrical current can cause destruction to several tissues, including muscles and nerves.
  • As electrical currents reach the heart, they can be disruptive to the heart’s electrical current, even causing it to stop.

What are some common causes of electrical injuries?
The dangers are all around you and in many instances occur because you don’t respect the power and danger of the electricity you use.

electrical injury lineman

  • If you have a job involving machinery or working with electricity, you can’t afford to get comfortable, because that’s when mistakes and injuries occur.

electricalpediatricburns_3

  • If you have electrical outlets that aren’t childproofed, then it stands to reason that eventually someone might place a metal object into that outlet, receiving a shock – or worse.

electrical-equipmentfrayed

  • If you have electrical appliances with worn, frayed and exposed wiring and you come in contact with the wire while it’s plugged in, you will be shocked.

electrical-injury-power lines

  • You live near a high-voltage power line? Beware of flashing electric arcs, which are looking for somewhere to land.

electricalgolferinjury

  • Thunder and lightning outside? Don’t be the golfer or other nature-lover wielding metal or otherwise unnecessarily exposing yourself to a rather large bolt. When you hear the thunder, the lightning is closer than you may think, relatively speaking.

What are the types of injuries I may receive?
Symptoms related to electrical injuries are numerous and varied. Here are a few examples.

electricalgolfinjury

  • Burns are common. The skin is likely to be pierced and burned on the way in and on the way out, producing “exit wounds” from the burn. Additionally, your sweat can be converted to steam and produce burns that way. Children who bite something with an active electrical current can receive a burn to the lip and experience delayed yet significant bleeding from the lip.

electrical lip-burn

  • The parts of the body that rely heavily on electric current are likely to be involved and damaged. This means you may experience the symptoms of a heart attack, an irregular heartbeat, numbness and tingling in your arms or legs from nerve damage or abnormal contractions of your muscles, which you’ll perceive as spasms and pain.
  • Similar effects on the brain may produce seizures and/or altered mental status.
  • The blast caused by an electrical injury can rupture a lung or your eardrums. Lung failure, shortness of breath and difficulty hearing may result.
  • The jolt caused by an electrical injury can sufficiently throw you such that secondary injuries can occur, including broken bones.
  • Combinations of the above mechanisms can produce additional symptoms such as headache, visual disturbances and problems swallowing.
  • Death may occur. Fortunately, even with the “ultimate” electrical injury (a lightning strike), 90% of victims still survive.

A separate Straight, No Chaser will address treatment and prevention considerations related to electrical injuries. In the meantime, look before you get shocked.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress
 

Straight, No Chaser: Do’s and Don’ts of Treating Electrical Injuries

In a previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed the “what” of electrical injuries. In this post, we discuss the “what-to-do” and “what-not-to-do” if and when you find yourself shocked or caring for someone else who was.
Let’s begin with prevention. It is easier for you to avoid a hazardous situation than to have to deal with it while injured. Let’s start with the children.

 electrical-outlet-child-proof

  • Talk to your children about electricity. Review hazardous and safe behaviors.
  • Use child safety plugs in all electrical outlets. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone anymore.
  • Take the next step and keep all electrical cords out of children’s reach.
  • Keep children away from electrical devices, especially those plugged in.
  • Intermittently check electrical cords, and make sure they aren’t cut or split with loose, exposed wiring visible and accessible.
  • Take the extra step of reading and following manufacturer’s safety instructions when using electrical appliances. Learning the right places to plug live wires on the fly is not the best idea.
  • Stay away from electrical devices while wet. This includes touching faucets or pipes while using them. Take the time to take the extra step.
  • Learn where the power boxes are in your house. If you ever need to turn them off, the first step is knowing the correct location for them.

Lineman_Rescue

Now, let’s review steps NOT to take if you’re electrocuted or near someone who was.

  • Don’t touch someone still in contact with the source of the electricity. The body is an excellent conductor of electrical current, and you’ll become part of the link.
  • Not only should you not touch, you shouldn’t even get close. Stay at least 20 feet (about three to four body lengths) away from someone being electrocuted until the power is turned off. The high-voltage current of power lines can dance their way onto you if given the opportunity.
  • Regardless of the distance, don’t try to rescue someone near an active high-voltage power line.
  • Don’t play doctor. If the power does get shut off, don’t move the victim. You’re likely to cause more harm than good. The force associated with electrical injuries often cause injuries, including to the head or spine. The exception to this would be the presence of a fire or the risk of an explosion.
  • Don’t play doctor, part two: Forget what you’ve heard. Please don’t slather the burns with butter or apply ice, ointment or any other medications. In fact, avoid placing any type of adhesive dressing or big bulky dressings. Your best move is to spend that time on the phone with emergency medical services.
  • You’re still not a doctor! Avoid the urge to break open burn blisters or peel off dead skin. Sometimes don’t-do-something-just-stand-there is the best course of action.

Ok, you really want to do something to help? Here are safe, reasonable steps to take. 

  • First things first: Ensure your own safety, whether from the electricity, any fire or possibility of an explosion. If there’s any water on the floor while this is occurring get out while you can.

shut off powerbox

  • Take advantage of your being smart enough to have learned how to cut off the power and do so. I’d recommend working backwards in this order: turn off the circuit breakers, remove the fuse from the fuse box, and unplug the cord. Remember, appliances can still allow for electrical current flow even in the off position. Simply cutting it off might neither be safe nor effective.
  • Call your local emergency medical service number (e.g., 911) at the first safe opportunity.

electrocution1

  • If the current can’t be turned off, and you determine it is safe to do so, find something made of rubber or another non-conducting material, such as a broom, chair or rug to push the person away from the source of the current. Don’t even think about using metal or something wet. Whenever you’re doing whatever you’re doing, stand on something rubber.
  • Do you know CPR? You may need it here. If the victim is no longer near the source of electricity, take needed steps. One very simple yet effective step is to raise the legs about the level of the heart. Again, avoid movement of the head, neck or lower spine.
  • If the person has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily without disturbing the rest of the body. Rinse any burns in cool running water until the pain subsides, and if possible give first aid. Do not go to great lengths here. The ambulance is likely to arrive before you get to do much here.
  • Stay with the victim until medical assistance arrives, unless the situation demands a quit exit.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Electrical Injuries and Lightning Strikes

Electricalinjurydanger

As I watch lightning lighting up the sky, it makes me wonder if anyone out there is unlucky enough to be getting struck. The annual probability of being struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 280,000, which is a lot more frequent than makes me comfortable. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses concerns and frequently asked questions on electrical injuries.
Why is getting shocked a big deal?
The human body conducts electricity very well, meaning when an external current is attached to us, it runs through the body with ease. This provides a lot of opportunity to cause damage. That damage in the wrong place can kill.
How does getting shocked cause damage?
There are three different paths by which electrical current (“getting shocked”) can cause damage.

electrical_burn_to_foot

  • On the way in and out, electrical current is likely to cause burns to the skin (thermal burns, aka entry and exit wounds).
  • An electrical current can cause destruction to several tissues, including muscles and nerves.
  • As electrical currents reach the heart, they can be disruptive to the heart’s electrical current, even causing it to stop.

What are some common causes of electrical injuries?
The dangers are all around you and in many instances occur because you don’t respect the power and danger of the electricity you use.

electrical injury lineman

  • If you have a job involving machinery or working with electricity, you can’t afford to get comfortable, because that’s when mistakes and injuries occur.

electricalpediatricburns_3

  • If you have electrical outlets that aren’t childproofed, then it stands to reason that eventually someone might place a metal object into that outlet, receiving a shock – or worse.

electrical-equipmentfrayed

  • If you have electrical appliances with worn, frayed and exposed wiring and you come in contact with the wire while it’s plugged in, you will be shocked.

electrical-injury-power lines

  • You live near a high-voltage power line? Beware of flashing electric arcs, which are looking for somewhere to land.

electricalgolferinjury

  • Thunder and lightning outside? Don’t be the golfer or other nature-lover wielding metal or otherwise unnecessarily exposing yourself to a rather large bolt. When you hear the thunder, the lightning is closer than you may think, relatively speaking.

What are the types of injuries I may receive?
Symptoms related to electrical injuries are numerous and varied. Here are a few examples.

electricalgolfinjury

  • Burns are common. The skin is likely to be pierced and burned on the way in and on the way out, producing “exit wounds” from the burn. Additionally, your sweat can be converted to steam and produce burns that way. Children who bite something with an active electrical current can receive a burn to the lip and experience delayed yet significant bleeding from the lip.

electrical lip-burn

  • The parts of the body that rely heavily on electric current are likely to be involved and damaged. This means you may experience the symptoms of a heart attack, an irregular heartbeat, numbness and tingling in your arms or legs from nerve damage or abnormal contractions of your muscles, which you’ll perceive as spasms and pain.
  • Similar effects on the brain may produce seizures and/or altered mental status.
  • The blast caused by an electrical injury can rupture a lung or your eardrums. Lung failure, shortness of breath and difficulty hearing may result.
  • The jolt caused by an electrical injury can sufficiently throw you such that secondary injuries can occur, including broken bones.
  • Combinations of the above mechanisms can produce additional symptoms such as headache, visual disturbances and problems swallowing.
  • Death may occur. Fortunately, even with the “ultimate” electrical injury (a lightning strike), 90% of victims still survive.

A separate Straight, No Chaser will address treatment and prevention considerations related to electrical injuries. In the meantime, look before you get shocked.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2016 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Do's and Don'ts of Treating Electrical Injuries

In a previous Straight, No Chaser, we discussed the “what” of electrical injuries. In this post, we discuss the “what-to-do” and “what-not-to-do” if and when you find yourself shocked or caring for someone else who was.
Let’s begin with prevention. It is easier for you to avoid a hazardous situation than to have to deal with it while injured. Let’s start with the children.

 electrical-outlet-child-proof

  • Talk to your children about electricity. Review hazardous and safe behaviors.
  • Use child safety plugs in all electrical outlets. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone anymore.
  • Take the next step and keep all electrical cords out of children’s reach.
  • Keep children away from electrical devices, especially those plugged in.
  • Intermittently check electrical cords, and make sure they aren’t cut or split with loose, exposed wiring visible and accessible.
  • Take the extra step of reading and following manufacturer’s safety instructions when using electrical appliances. Learning the right places to plug live wires on the fly is not the best idea.
  • Stay away from electrical devices while wet. This includes touching faucets or pipes while using them. Take the time to take the extra step.
  • Learn where the power boxes are in your house. If you ever need to turn them off, the first step is knowing the correct location for them.

Lineman_Rescue

Now, let’s review steps NOT to take if you’re electrocuted or near someone who was.

  • Don’t touch someone still in contact with the source of the electricity. The body is an excellent conductor of electrical current, and you’ll become part of the link.
  • Not only should you not touch, you shouldn’t even get close. Stay at least 20 feet (about three to four body lengths) away from someone being electrocuted until the power is turned off. The high-voltage current of power lines can dance their way onto you if given the opportunity.
  • Regardless of the distance, don’t try to rescue someone near an active high-voltage power line.
  • Don’t play doctor. If the power does get shut off, don’t move the victim. You’re likely to cause more harm than good. The force associated with electrical injuries often cause injuries, including to the head or spine. The exception to this would be the presence of a fire or the risk of an explosion.
  • Don’t play doctor, part two: Forget what you’ve heard. Please don’t slather the burns with butter or apply ice, ointment or any other medications. In fact, avoid placing any type of adhesive dressing or big bulky dressings. Your best move is to spend that time on the phone with emergency medical services.
  • You’re still not a doctor! Avoid the urge to break open burn blisters or peel off dead skin. Sometimes don’t-do-something-just-stand-there is the best course of action.

Ok, you really want to do something to help? Here are safe, reasonable steps to take. 

  • First things first: Ensure your own safety, whether from the electricity, any fire or possibility of an explosion. If there’s any water on the floor while this is occurring get out while you can.

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  • Take advantage of your being smart enough to have learned how to cut off the power and do so. I’d recommend working backwards in this order: turn off the circuit breakers, remove the fuse from the fuse box, and unplug the cord. Remember, appliances can still allow for electrical current flow even in the off position. Simply cutting it off might neither be safe nor effective.
  • Call your local emergency medical service number (e.g., 911) at the first safe opportunity.

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  • If the current can’t be turned off, and you determine it is safe to do so, find something made of rubber or another non-conducting material, such as a broom, chair or rug to push the person away from the source of the current. Don’t even think about using metal or something wet. Whenever you’re doing whatever you’re doing, stand on something rubber.
  • Do you know CPR? You may need it here. If the victim is no longer near the source of electricity, take needed steps. One very simple yet effective step is to raise the legs about the level of the heart. Again, avoid movement of the head, neck or lower spine.
  • If the person has a burn, remove any clothing that comes off easily without disturbing the rest of the body. Rinse any burns in cool running water until the pain subsides, and if possible give first aid. Do not go to great lengths here. The ambulance is likely to arrive before you get to do much here.
  • Stay with the victim until medical assistance arrives, unless the situation demands a quit exit.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook atSterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Electrical Injuries and Lightning Strikes

Electricalinjurydanger

As I watch lightning lighting up the sky, it makes me wonder if anyone out there is unlucky enough to be getting struck. The annual probability of being struck by lightning is approximately 1 in 280,000, which is a lot more frequent than makes me comfortable. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses concerns and frequently asked questions on electrical injuries.
Why is getting shocked a big deal?
The human body conducts electricity very well, meaning when an external current is attached to us, it runs through the body with ease. This provides a lot of opportunity to cause damage. That damage in the wrong place can kill.
How does getting shocked cause damage?
There are three different paths by which electrical current (“getting shocked”) can cause damage.

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  • On the way in and out, electrical current is likely to cause burns to the skin (thermal burns, aka entry and exit wounds).
  • An electrical current can cause destruction to several tissues, including muscles and nerves.
  • As electrical currents reach the heart, they can be disruptive to the heart’s electrical current, even causing it to stop.

What are some common causes of electrical injuries?
The dangers are all around you and in many instances occur because you don’t respect the power and danger of the electricity you use.

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  • If you have a job involving machinery or working with electricity, you can’t afford to get comfortable, because that’s when mistakes and injuries occur.

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  • If you have electrical outlets that aren’t childproofed, then it stands to reason that eventually someone might place a metal object into that outlet, receiving a shock – or worse.

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  • If you have electrical appliances with worn, frayed and exposed wiring and you come in contact with the wire while it’s plugged in, you will be shocked.

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  • You live near a high-voltage power line? Beware of flashing electric arcs, which are looking for somewhere to land.

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  • Thunder and lightning outside? Don’t be the golfer or other nature-lover wielding metal or otherwise unnecessarily exposing yourself to a rather large bolt. When you hear the thunder, the lightning is closer than you may think, relatively speaking.

What are the types of injuries I may receive?
Symptoms related to electrical injuries are numerous and varied. Here are a few examples.

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  • Burns are common. The skin is likely to be pierced and burned on the way in and on the way out, producing “exit wounds” from the burn. Additionally, your sweat can be converted to steam and produce burns that way. Children who bite something with an active electrical current can receive a burn to the lip and experience delayed yet significant bleeding from the lip.

electrical lip-burn

  • The parts of the body that rely heavily on electric current are likely to be involved and damaged. This means you may experience the symptoms of a heart attack, an irregular heartbeat, numbness and tingling in your arms or legs from nerve damage or abnormal contractions of your muscles, which you’ll perceive as spasms and pain.
  • Similar effects on the brain may produce seizures and/or altered mental status.
  • The blast caused by an electrical injury can rupture a lung or your eardrums. Lung failure, shortness of breath and difficulty hearing may result.
  • The jolt caused by an electrical injury can sufficiently throw you such that secondary injuries can occur, including broken bones.
  • Combinations of the above mechanisms can produce additional symptoms such as headache, visual disturbances and problems swallowing.
  • Death may occur. Fortunately, even with the “ultimate” electrical injury (a lightning strike), 90% of victims still survive.

A separate Straight, No Chaser will address treatment and prevention considerations related to electrical injuries. In the meantime, look before you get shocked.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what 844-SMA-TALK and http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.