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Electrical injury: first aid for the victim

Electrical trauma is a combination of various pathological processes in an organism exposed to electric current.The most common reason for this is the neglect of safety rules while working with electrical appliances or wiring, but it is also possible to injure atmospheric electricity( lightning strike).

Table of contents: Causes of electrical trauma Electrical trauma symptoms First aid for electrical trauma

Causes of electrical injury

Trauma in the global sense is a damage caused by the effects of extreme mechanical, chemical, physical influences whose strength exceeds the body's ability to resist it.Obviously, in the case of an electric trauma, such an effect is the passage through the human body of an electric current of relatively high intensity.

Usually a person is struck in the case of:

  • using defective household or industrial appliances;
  • non-compliance with safety standards by workers in the relevant field( electricians, equipment installers, electric machine operators, etc.);
  • lightning strike when non-compliance with safety measures in a thunderstorm.

0b2f5af21be4e828e13f8baaa23a63a2 Most people get electric shock in everyday life, and in recent years the frequency of such cases is steadily increasing due to the widespread distribution of electrical appliances and equipment and not always a responsible attitude to their serviceability.

Children are electric shocked because of their curiosity and lack of ability to predict the consequences of their actions.The unattended child may well try to open the TV, cut off a piece of "very necessary" wire to him or simply plug into an outlet any object.

Symptoms of electrical injury

Conditionally, doctors subdivide the symptoms of this type of injury into local and general. The live part of an electrical appliance in contact with body tissues causes damage to them by two mechanisms:

  • a contact electric burn occurs when the electric current flows through the tissues and heats them to ultra-high temperatures;
  • A thermal burn occurs less frequently and only if a hot arc arises.

Doctors burn the local burn according to the stages of the current:

  1. In the first stage, the skin turns red.It produces imprints of a conductive object - electromagnets.
  2. The second stage is characterized by the formation of bubbles.Unlike a conventional thermal burn with electric trauma, they do not contain liquid.
  3. In the third stage, the skin is affected to its full depth, there is dry necrosis( necrosis), but the subcutaneous structures are intact.
  4. The final stage is manifested by the defeat of deep tissues, beginning with the subcutaneous fat layer and ending with bones( charring).

Important: burns with electric trauma has a number of features.So because of the contact mechanism of the impact of the traumatic agent, the form of the burn repeats the shape of the object that served as a source of current.The skin in the affected area can be metallized with metal particles that make up the conductor.The place of an electric burn is rarely painful, because under the influence of electrocurrent the pain receptors stop functioning.

Despite the external brightness and "scary" electric burns, they are not always as dangerous as the general effects of electricity on the body.

When an electric shock, absolutely all organs can suffer, and first of all the nervous system, since nerve fibers by their nature best conduct electricity.


The first sign of defeat is muscle contraction.When exposed to a high voltage current, a powerful contraction of all muscles occurs, which most often throws the victim from the source of electricity.With a low-voltage current, there is a persistent spasm of all muscles and this can be even more dangerous, since the effect of electricity is very long.

At the moment of contact, a person feels a burning pain, a shiver, piercing the entire affected limb.Four out of five victims lose consciousness at the time of injury and fall.This sometimes helps to break away from the electrical device and stop the effect of current on the body.However, often a loss of consciousness leads to additional injuries, if the work is done at altitude or in dangerous conditions - a person can break, fall on sharp objects or die in the event of a fire.Most often, consciousness returns relatively quickly even without additional measures to bring the injured to the senses.If the victim does not come to his senses for a long time, then the brain damage is very likely.

The following symptoms are observed in people with electrical trauma:

  • acrocyanosis( cyanosis of the lips), combined with pallor of the skin;
  • lethargy, drowsiness, apathy;
  • lowering blood pressure;
  • amnesia;
  • dysfunction of the spinal cord, manifested in the form of violations of coordination of movements, changes in reflexes, disorders of the functions of the pelvic organs( incontinence of urine and feces).

Effects of the electric current of a person

Cardiac arrhythmias are the most dangerous symptom of life.Heart rhythm disturbances often occur only a few hours after trauma after a period of visible well-being.That's why every person who has been subjected to an electric shock must be hospitalized, since in a hospital he has more chances that the arrhythmia will not go unnoticed.

However, under the influence of a high-voltage electric current, the rhythm can go down at the moment of injury.This is often the cause of the death of victims.

The likelihood of respiratory disturbances is also high, until it stops.But even without a "stop," there is a risk of developing a respiratory distress syndrome - a situation where oxygen can not pass from the lungs to the blood.

Signs of disruption of the nervous system are cramps that appear in most cases.Convulsions can be so strong that sometimes even lead to fractures.

When the voltaic arc appears at the time of injury, damage to the organ of vision is possible.Cataract( clouding of the lens) occurs in 6% of cases of electrical injury due to high-voltage current.Retinal detachment, intraocular hemorrhages are very unpleasant diseases, sometimes leading to complete irreversible blindness.

First aid for electrical trauma

Emergency measures for electrical trauma are the fulfillment of several points:

  • termination of the impact of electric current;
  • first aid;
  • provision of qualified care in a hospital.

First of all, it is necessary to stop the exposure of electricity to the victim by:

  • de-energize the current source( turn off the switch, unplug the plug, cut the wire with an ax with a wooden handle,
  • discards the victim with any wooden, plastic or rubber objectDo not beat, but push or pull!);
  • pulling the victim to a safe place.

1352287535 Note: The victim himself is an electrically conductiveIf you release it from the current, do not forget to protect yourself! You need to wear rubber galoshes, gloves, or wrap your hands with a dry cloth.It is advisable to place a dry board or rubber mat under your feet.Take the victim away from the wire without touching the open parts of his body, t

Important: The should be aware that if the current source is a high-voltage wire lying on the ground, it is advisable to approach the victim in steps of one foot in lengthAnd not stopping the stop from the ground.This is due to the fact that at a great distance from one leg to the other, a potential difference occurs between them, and the rescuer can also be shocked.

After the victim is safely checked for presence of a pulse on the carotid artery and independent breathing.If they are absent - immediately begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation.


Prior to hospitalization, depending on the severity of the injury,

  • analgesics - from paracetamol to morphine;
  • drugs that raise blood pressure - solutions for intravenous infusion, dopamine;
  • anticonvulsants - diazepam;
  • preparations that dilute blood - heparin, enoxaparin, etc.;
  • antiarrhythmic drugs - lidocaine, verapamil, beta blockers, amiodarone, etc.

Before transportation, all electrical burns must be bandaged with dry bandages.

In the intensive care unit, the administration of solutions to combat possible shock continues, diuretics are used for head lesions, cardiac drugs, blood thinners and other medications are used.

In some cases, it may be necessary to surgically treat an electric burn, beginning with the removal of dead tissue and ending with the amputation of a non-viable limb.Fractures are treated according to general rules - gypsum immobilization, stretching, osteosynthesis with the use of spokes, plates, etc.

Electro-injury is an incredibly complex disease in terms of treatment.The current passes through the entire body, affecting almost all organs.That's why it's so hard to fight it."Preventing is easier than curing" - with regard to electrotrauma, this phrase sounds as accurate as possible.Compliance with safety rules when using electrical appliances will reduce the risk of this severe pathology to a minimum.

Bozbey Gennadiy, medical reviewer, ambulance doctor

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