Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon

Electrical Shock

share icon
share icon

What is Electrical Shock?

When a person comes into direct contact with an electrical energy source, he or she receives an electric shock. When electrical energy flows through a portion of the body, it causes a shock. Exposure to electrical energy can range from no harm at all or severe damage or death.

Effect of Electric Shock on Human Body

Here are a Few Signs of an Electric Shock. 

  • An electric shock victim may have very little external evidence of injury or may have obvious severe burns. The individual may even be in cardiac arrest.

  • The points of contact with the electrical source and the ground are usually the most severely burned. 

  • Common points of contact include the hands, heels, and head. Some other injuries which are possible if the person comes in direct contact with the electrical source is a strong muscular contraction.

  • The possibility of a spine injury should be considered. Internal injuries are possible, especially if the person is experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, or abdominal pain.

Minor Electric Shock

When a person comes into direct contact with an electrical energy source, he or she receives an electric shock. A shock happens when electrical energy flows through some portion of the human body. Exposure to electrical energy can either cause no harm at all or it can lead to severe damage or even death. The most common injury caused by an electric shock is burns.

Electric Current in Human Body

It is believed that currents less than 5mA are not dangerous. The current range of 10 to 20 MA is dangerous because the patient loses muscular control. The resistance of the human body measured between two hands or two legs ranges from 500mA to 50k.

Injuries from Electric Shocks

Electric shock causes four major types of injuries: electrocution (fatal), electric shock, burns, and falls. A few examples where these injuries can occur are:

  • Direct contact with energised conductors or circuit components that are exposed. When there is a flow of electrical current through our bodies, it can disrupt normal electrical signals of our body between the brain and our muscles (e.g., the heart can stop beating properly, breathing can stop). 

  • When electricity arcs (jumps or "arcs") from an exposed energised conductor or circuit part (e.g., overhead power lines) through a gas (such as air) to a grounded person (which provides an alternate route to the ground).

  • Thermal burns include burns caused by an electric arc's heat, as well as flame burns caused by materials that catch fire as a result of heating or ignition by electrical currents or an electric arc flash. Contact burns from being shocked can burn internal tissues while leaving only minor injuries on the skin's surface.

  • Thermal burns caused by the heat emitted by an electric arc flash. The ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) light emitted by the arc flash can also cause eye damage.

  • A potential pressure wave released by an arc flash can be included in an arc blast. This wave has the potential to cause physical harm, collapse your lungs, or generate noise that can harm your hearing.

  • A person can fall from a ladder, scaffold, or aerial bucket due to muscle contractions or a startle reaction. The fall has the potential to cause serious injuries.

Muscle Pain After Electric Shock

Electricity stimulates muscles. The effect is determined by the current's intensity and the type of muscle it passes through.

We've all experienced a buzzing or tingling sensation that isn't painful. This is the result of a current as low as 0.25 milliamperes (mA) passing through the body.

When a current greater than 10 mA passes through flexor muscles, such as those in our forearms that close our fingers, it causes a sustained contraction. The victim may be unable to let go of the current source, extending the duration of contact and increasing the severity of the shock.

A current greater than 10 mA passing through extensor muscles causes a violent spasm. If the hip extensor muscles, that extend the limbs away from the body, are injured, the victim may even be propelled, often several metres away!

As a result of the sudden contraction caused by an electric shock, muscles, ligaments, and tendons may tear. If the shock is prolonged or the current is high, tissue can be burned.

Electric Shock Treatment

Treatment is determined by the severity of the burns and the nature of any other injuries discovered.

  • Burns are treated based on their severity.

  • Topical antibiotic ointment and dressings can be used to treat minor burns.

  • More severe burns may necessitate surgical wound cleaning or even skin grafting.

  • Severe burns to the arms, legs, or hands may necessitate surgery to remove damaged muscle or, in extreme cases, amputation.

  • Other injuries may necessitate medical attention.

  • An ophthalmologist, or eye specialist, may be required to examine and treat eye injuries.

  • Splinting, casting, or surgery are all options for stabilising broken bones.

  • Injuries to the internal organs may necessitate observation or surgery.

First Aid in Electric Shock

  • If possible, turn off the power source. If this is not possible, move the electric source away from you and the person using a dry, nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic, or wood.

  • If the person shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing, or movement, begin CPR.

  • Make every effort to keep the injured person warm.

  • Wrap the wound with a bandage. 

  • Cover any burned areas with a sterile gauze bandage or a clean cloth, if available. A blanket or towel should not be used because the loose fibres can stick to the burns.

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Electrical Shock

Question 1. What is Electrocution Treatment?

Answer. If possible, turn off the power source. If not that, then use a dry, any object which is nonconducting and made of cardboard, plastic, or wood to move the source away. If the person shows no signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing, or movement, begin CPR.

Question 2. What is the Risk of Electric Shock?

Answer. The most dangerous aspects of electricity include contact with live parts, which can result in shock and burns. Fire or explosion where electricity could be the source of ignition in a potentially flammable or explosive atmosphere, such as in a spray paint booth.