Do you know how to treat a person who has sustained an electrical burn? The person will need medical attention but there are some things you can do to assist the individual while medical personnel arrive.
An electrical burn occurs when a person comes in contact with an electrical source and current passes through their body. The burns they may sustain can range from a minor first degree burn to a severe third degree burn.
The type of burn they may experience depends highly on the voltage of electricity, the length of time they came in contact with the current and the direction the current traveled through the body.
When a strong current flows through the body, damage may be caused internally that is not visible to you. The victim might experience cardiac arrest or heart rhythm might be altered. Internal damage to organs might have also occurred.
If the jolt is strong enough, it can throw a victim a few feet away. This can cause another set of injuries like fractured or broken bones or even a concussion.
About 1,000 people in the United States die each year from electrical burns. This is a potentially serious condition that requires care from your doctor. Do you know how to treat an electrical burn? Learn about the things you can do for the victim while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.
How to Treat an Electrical Burn
• The first thing you must do is call 911 and get the victim medical attention as fast as possible. The next thing is to look at the victim and assess the situation. You want to make sure there is not a current still running through them or that a live wire is too close.
• If the person has current flowing through them, it will flow through you as well. So it is important to not touch the person until you are sure it is safe.
• To ensure safety, try to turn off the power if you can. If that is not possible, you will need to find a non-conductive source to use to move the person away from the electrical current. Non-conductive sources are any dry items like cardboard, plastic or wood.
• You will need to check the person for a pulse and to see if they are breathing. You might have to perform CPR.
• Check to see if the victim is in shock. Symptoms to look for are if they are cold, clammy, pale or have a rapid pulse. If they experience any of these symptoms cover them with a blanket, towel, coat or what is available to keep their body temperature up.
• If they have any burns do not attempt to remove any clothing, put cold water on the skin or put any salve on the burns. Again, the most important thing you can do is get the person medical attention as soon as possible.