Alternate Names : Electrical shock
An electrical injury can occur to the skin or internal organs when a person is directly exposed to an electrical current.
Overview & Considerations
The human body is a good conductor of electricity. Direct contact with electrical current can be fatal. While some electrical burns look minor, there still may be serious internal damage, especially to the heart, muscles, or brain.
About 1,000 people die of elecrtric shock each year in the United States.
The affect of an electric shock on an individual depends on the intensity of the voltage to which the person was exposed, the route the current took through the body, the persons's state of health, and the speed and adequacy of treatment.
Electric current can cause injury in three main ways:
- Cardiac arrest due to the electrical effect on the heart
- Muscle, nerve, and tissue destruction from a current passing through the body
- Thermal burns from contact with the electrical source
- Accidental contact with exposed parts of electrical appliances or wiring
- Flashing of electric arcs from high-voltage power lines
- Machinery or occupational-related exposures
- Young children biting or chewing on electrical cords, or poking metal objects into an electrical outlet
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