Electric shock injuries can happen at home, at the workplace, or at school, and it can happen to anyone. Knowing first aid for electric shock injuries can greatly help in the quick and effective management of such emergencies.
The human body is mainly water, thus, it has ability to conduct electricity. If any part of the body receives an electric shock, the electricity can travel through body tissues with little obstruction. Passage of electric current through the body can lead to injuries such as burns to the skin and internal tissues, as well as fatal heart rhythm disturbances (heart failure). First aid for electric shock injuries may involve care for burns, CPR and rescue breathing.
Possible causes of electric shock include:
- Faulty electrical wiring/appliances
- Downed powerlines
- Electrical appliances in contact with liquids
- Improper installation and/or use of appliances
- Lightning strike
Helping victims of electric shock
Before providing first aid for electric shock injuries, be sure to disconnect the power supply. Check if there is a main switch for the entire building and turn it off. A safety switch reduces the risk of electricity-related injuries at home.
DO NOT attempt to help until you are certain that the power supply has been cut off. Be extra careful when working around downed power lines or in wet areas. Remember electricity can travel through water.
First Aid for Electrical Shock
- Check responsiveness and breathing. If breathing is absent, initiate CPR.
- Call 911 for emergency help. If you are unsure about what to do, ask the emergency operator and he will give you instructions. Be ready to follow the instructions as it is vital in increasing the person’s chances of survival.
- If the victim is responsive and with spontaneous breathing, look for other injuries and provide first aid. Cool the burns under running water for 20 minutes. Cover burned areas with dressing that won’t stick into the skin, if available. A good alternative to dressing is a simple cling wrap, commonly found in kitchens. DO NOT apply oils or ointments onto burnt skin.
- Provide reassurance and stay with the victim.
Preventing electric shock injuries at home
Take these few precautions to help reduce the risk of electric shock at home:
- Always consult a licensed electrician for all electricity-related installations.
- Never use appliances or extensions wires if the cord appears frayed or damaged.
- When unplugging appliances, DO NOT pull on the cord, instead pull the plug.
- Avoid putting electrical appliance near wet areas.
- Invest on safety switches and portable power boards with built-in safety switches.
- Use safety plugs on power points that are not in use to prevent childrenfrom inserting objects into them.
While learning first aid for electric shock is recommended, you would not want any of your loved ones to suffer such injuries. Take safety precautions today and avoid unwanted injuries.