Health Effects of Electric ShockWednesday 14th May 2014 05:26pm
Since we talked a little about Safety Tips For DIY Wiring last week, this week we’ll discuss what can happen if you do the wiring yourself and make a mistake: electric shock. Many people every year receive electric shocks due to faulty appliances, damaged wiring, appliances coming into contact with water, lightning strike or downed power lines. Electric shock happens when your body comes into contact with electricity with a big enough current.
Electrical injuries can have many effects. A very small current might not be noticeable, but a larger current could mean you are unable to let go of the object causing the shock. Even bigger currents can result in damage to tissues and fibrillation of the heart.
Effects on the Heart and Nervous System
After a severe shock, the electric current travels throughout the nervous system and as it travels, it burns tissue in patches. It depends on how long the shock is and the size of the current, but injuries can include burns to the skin and internal tissues and electrical interference with the heart; the heart might stop or the heartbeat might become erratic.
It is also possible to receive a neurological injury from the electric shock. Symptoms may last a long time or forever, and they may develop some time after the initial injury. Some victims find they suffer from general fatigue or exhaustion, weakness in their joints, aching muscles, spasms, cramps, twitching or extreme physical sensitivity.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Another possible health effect of electric shock is complex regional pain syndrome. With this condition, a persistent and burning pain develops in an arm or leg, and the pain is unexpectedly intense. The skin in the area becomes extremely sensitive to touch and changes in temperature, and the pain can spread to other parts of the body, too.
Doctors can treat this syndrome, and it’s important to see your doctor as quickly as possible if you experience it. Treatments include physiotherapy to prevent muscles wasting and medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs to help with the pain.
Treatment for electric shock
If you find a victim of electric shock, first disconnect the power supply. Don’t even think of touching the victim till that is done. Be extra careful if the area is wet, because water conducts electricity. You may have to turn off the power in the whole building. Then, call an ambulance. If you’ve had a severe electric shock, once you get to hospital, doctors will check your heart and give you fluids, as well as treating your burns.
As you can see, the effects of electric shock can be really devastating, which is why it’s so important to have work done by a licensed electrician if you have any question about your own abilities. As always, make sure your appliances are in good working order, as well as keeping them away from water. Treating electricity with respect is the best way to avoid a shock in the first place.