If a power accident or electrical accident happens, this can be fatal for the person concerned. Light electric shocks, on the other hand, do not cause serious injuries in most cases. In the home, the risk of suffering an electric shock is particularly high.
What is an electrical accident?
An electrical accident occurs when a person comes into contact with electricity and suffers injuries as a result. If the victim touches a live object and earth at the same time, they will be drawn into the circuit and receive an electric shock. For what is the definition of voiding syncope, please visit healthknowing.com.
This means: Electricity flows through the human body and causes damage, which in the worst case can lead to death. The current finds a way through the body (eg from hand to foot or from right hand to left hand).
The extent of this damage to health actually depends on several factors. The intensity of the current and the duration of the incident play a decisive role. An electrical accident is particularly critical when important body parts such as the heart or brain are in the current flow.
The household harbors many sources of danger for an electrical accident. The use of broken electrical devices (e.g. missing insulation on the mains cable) and handling electrical cables without specialist knowledge can lead to an electric shock. Small children who play near unsecured sockets are at great risk.
There are also dangers lurking in nature. If you are struck by lightning during a thunderstorm, you will be electrocuted. Special care should be taken near overhead power lines. If such a line is damaged by a storm or snow, live lines can fall to the ground.
You also run the risk of electrocution if you fly a kite under such a power line. There are also weapons that give the victim an electric shock (taser gun).
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
In the case of an electrical accident, the symptoms depend on the voltage to which the person concerned was exposed. Factors such as the duration of the current exposure, current flow and the patient’s constitution also have an effect on the type and severity of the symptoms. Low voltage accidents, such as those that can occur when blow-drying in the bathroom, cause minor burns or muscle cramps.
Prolonged exposure to low voltage can cause death. Cardiac arrest or severe burns, which lead to cardiac arrest, typically occur. Accidents caused by high voltage cause severe burns and cardiac arrhythmia.
Depending on the severity of the electric shock, ventricular fibrillation or even complete cardiac arrest can occur. In most cases, a high-voltage accident leads to the death of the casualty. A lightning strike causes severe burns and injuries to muscles, bones and skin. Vessels and nerves are usually also affected.
Due to the high voltage, a lightning strike is almost always fatal. In addition to the acute symptoms of an electrical accident, cardiac arrhythmias, nerve disorders and neurological deficits can still occur days, weeks or even months, always depending on the severity of the voltage and the therapeutic measures taken.
Diagnosis & History
A power accident can lead to a variety of health problems and death. It is also possible that the victim escapes without significant injuries. Depending on the strength of the current and the duration of the incident, the patient experiences muscle paralysis of varying degrees.
Seizures, loss of consciousness and respiratory arrest are also possible. If the heart is in the current flow, life-threatening ventricular fibrillation or cardiac arrest can occur. Burn injuries (electricity marks) occur at the points where the current entered or exited the body.
In the event of an electrical accident, the patient sometimes suffers severe seizures that can lead to broken bones. Follow-up accidents often happen. For example, the patient falls as a result of an electric shock and sustains further injuries.
Complications after an electrical accident affect various organ systems. Very often, an electric shock triggers cardiac arrhythmia, which in many cases occurs immediately, sometimes only with some delay. In addition, the muscle tissue of the heart can be damaged as a result of burns, which has a lasting effect on heart function.
Airway injury, like paralysis of the respiratory center, can lead to life-threatening respiratory arrest. The nerve tissue has a low resistance and is therefore often affected in the event of an electrical accident: the consequences can be paralysis, sensory disturbances and coordination disorders.
Brain damage manifests itself, among other things, in clouded consciousness, seizures, restlessness and memory disorders. These symptoms can be caused either directly by the effect of the current or as a result of an undersupply of the brain after a cardiovascular standstill. Involuntary muscle spasms can cause muscle and tendon tears as well as broken bones. In severe cases, the effects of current can result in the dissolution of muscle fibers (myolysis).
Other complications after an electrical accident include burns to the skin with blistering and subsequent scarring, as well as impairment of kidney function and even kidney failure. Damage to the blood vessels is also possible, which can lead to thrombosis and embolism. Blood poisoning, which can occur as a result of a bacterial infection or burned body tissue, is life-threatening.
When should you go to the doctor?
A minor electric shock does not normally require a doctor. The person affected needs some time to regenerate and rest in order to process the experience. There is usually an inner irritability, short-term tachycardia and excitement that slowly disappears within a few minutes. If there are no further complaints or inconveniences, no medical care is necessary.
In the event of a strong electric shock, a doctor should be consulted. If there are burns, pain or cramps in the muscles, further examinations are necessary. The extent of the damage in the organism must be determined so that an individual treatment plan can then be drawn up. Disorders of the circulatory system, irregularities in heart activity or shortness of breath must be presented to a doctor as soon as possible. In the event of loss of consciousness, extensive injuries to the body or severe pain, an emergency service should be alerted.
First aid measures must be taken before the emergency doctor arrives . The instructions of the rescue team must be followed so that the best possible first aid can take place. Since a strong electric shock in severe cases leads to the premature death of the person concerned, there is a need for immediate action in the event of nerve disorders, diffuse irregularities in various bodily functions, bone injuries or cardiac arrest. Intensive medical care is necessary to ensure the life of the person concerned.
Treatment & Therapy
If a patient has suffered an electrical accident, the first responder should observe protective measures so as not to endanger themselves. Before touching the casualty, you must disconnect your body from the power source.
If there is a live cable nearby, remove it using a non-conductive object (e.g. a wooden broom). If the patient is unconscious, first aid measures (cardiac massage, ventilation) must be initiated immediately. If the casualty is conscious, the burn injuries caused by the electrical accident are treated.
If the injuries are minor and the patient has no other complaints, you should still go to a hospital. An EKG will be performed there. Cardiac arrhythmias sometimes occur hours after an electrical accident. The severity of the electrical accident determines whether further treatment steps are necessary afterwards. If the burns are severe, toxins can enter the body because tissue is charred. In this case, blood poisoning is prevented with the help of infusions.
In order to avoid an electrical accident in the home, you should follow a few safety measures. Broken electronic devices should never be used. A specialist must always be called for repairs to electrical cables. In households with small children, child safety devices should be attached to the sockets. When staying outdoors, it is important to go to a sheltered place during a thunderstorm to avoid being struck by lightning. Special care should be taken in the vicinity of overhead power lines.
Depending on the current strength, electric shocks cause different consequences. These range from slight burns of the skin surface to life-threatening courses. In some cases, no acute injuries are evident. The patient did not faint, felt pain, or feel dizzy.
Further follow-up care does not appear to be necessary. However, there is a risk of late effects that only appear after a long period of time without symptoms. In technical jargon, there is talk of direct and indirect consequences. For this reason, medical follow-up care must always be provided in the event of an electrical accident.
A weakly pronounced electric shock is manifested by a brief sensation of pain in the fingertips. This situation is common and occurs when touching electrostatically charged surfaces. Follow-up treatment does not make sense here. The current is too low to cause permanent damage.
Electrical accidents go beyond this level. They require an emergency call and immediate medical attention. The heart in particular is often affected by direct and indirect damage. The person concerned should take the advice of the (emergency) doctor seriously and seek medical care beyond the accident. A cardiologist checks the heart rate using the ECG. He initiates further treatment paths if late effects appear.
You can do that yourself
In everyday life, especially in the household, care should be taken to ensure that no injuries can occur through contact with electricity. Sockets, light switches or other sources from which electricity can be drawn must be well covered and protected against defects. As soon as there are any abnormalities, contact an electrician should be sought. Open cables from the wall, floor or ceiling should be covered.
In addition, it must be ensured that a corresponding power supply can be excluded via the fuse box. Caution is also required when handling electrical devices. If there is damage to the cables of the household appliances used, they should not be used. Staying outdoors should always be avoided during a thunderstorm. When a thunderstorm sets in, seek shelter in closed buildings. Storing under a tree or in a wooded area is not advisable.
If, despite all precautionary measures, an electrical accident occurs, a doctor is required in the event of serious injuries. Physical stress is to be reduced to a minimum and sufficient rest is necessary. The organism needs all the strength to achieve improvements in the healing process. A balanced and healthy diet and good sleep hygiene are also important. This is helpful for the body to recover as quickly as possible.