First Aid for Electrical Burns and Shock

Electricity causes burns via the flow of electric voltage through the skin. But electric shock can cause more than burns. Bad shocks can cause deep tissue damage, and extremely high voltages may even stop the heart. You can tell an electric shock burn from other burns by the small, discolored marks on the skin at the points of entry and exit of the electricity.

Before you can administer first aid to a person experiencing an electric shock, you must turn off the power, if you can. Don’t waste time on appliance switches or plugs they might have loose connections, which could have caused the problem in the first place. The best solution? If you’re in the house, immediately move to the master fuse and turn off all the power.

Sometimes the situations that cause electric shocks are very simple (such as dropping a hair dryer into the bathtub). But electric shocks don’t always occur in the bathroom or kitchen. Sometimes a live wire can fall on a person outdoors, in which case there’s no way to shut the power off. Call for help; while you’re waiting, you can also do a few things to help without injuring yourself.

Stand on a thick pile of newspapers or a fat rubber welcome mat but only as long as it’s not raining and the ground is dry. Moisture would immediately make you a conductor regardless of what you’re standing on.

Using a wooden broom, mop, or pole, try to push the injured person off the live wire or try to push the live wire off the injured person.

Always make sure the mat, the pole, and your hands are dry. The dry, insulated material you’re standing on will prevent the electricity from flowing into you. When you’ve turned off the power source that caused the shock, or you’ve otherwise moved the power away from the injured person, you can help him or her to safety and get help.

Before beginning first aid care, remember to call for emergency help and, as always, practice the universal safety guidelines.

  1. Because shock is more of a risk with electricity than any other type of burn, and take the appropriate measures. If the person is not breathing, immediately begin mouth-to-mouth.
  2. While waiting for help, apply a small amount of antibacterial or anti burn ointment on the points of entry and exit of the electricity.
  3. Keep the injured person on his or her back, with the feet and legs elevated.
  4. If the injured person is unconscious, gently turn him or her to the side, supporting the head with a pillow. This will aid breathing and keep shock damage from increasing.
  5. Gently cover the injured person with a blanket.

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