An electric shock is caused by contact with a live source of electricity that sends an electrical current throughout the body.
Common causes of electric shock
- Exposed electrical wires
- Old wiring
- Water on electrical appliances
- Faulty appliances
- Cutting through a live cable
In some cases, an electric shock is triggered by lightning. Remember that an electric shock can cause more than a fright and minor discomfort or can be severe enough to cause loss of consciousness and even stop the heart.
In case an individual receives an electric shock, there are measures to observe to prevent putting yourself in danger:
- Check the surroundings first and do not touch the person. Remember that the individual might still be in contact with the source of electricity and if touched, you will receive an electric shock.
- Turn off the electricity at the main source, get rid of fuses and pull out all cords.
- Use an object that does not carry electricity such as those made out of plastic or wood to break the individual away from the source of electricity.
- Be careful if the individual is exposed to water which is capable of conducting electricity.
An individual who has been shocked should be taken to the closest healthcare facility for assessment. Call for emergency assistance if the individual who received an electric shock loses consciousness, has rapid or slow breathing and fast, rapid or erratic heartbeat.
The initial step is to assess if the individual is aware and breathing. Slowly touch and talk to the individual. If a response could not be prompted, call for emergency assistance and perform CPR.
Even if the individual is conscious and breathing, it is best to call for emergency assistance if the individual:
- Loses consciousness
- Breathes rapidly or very slow
- Has a rapid, slow or erratic heartbeat
If emergency assistance could not be reached, you have to bring the individual to the nearest emergency department right away.
Electrical burns from an electric shock can be serious than it appears, thus they require assessment in a healthcare facility. While waiting for the emergency team or before bringing the individual to the hospital, the following can be carried out:
- Place the burned area under running water for at least 20 minutes
- Provide pain medications
- If there are any blisters, leave them as is.
- Do not apply anything on the burn site such as cream, ointment, oil, spray or butter or any household remedy.