By electric trauma is meant damage to organs and systems due to electric shock. The main causes of death due to electric shock are respiratory arrest and cardiac arrest. After a strong electric shock, if a person survives, it may develop complications from the cardiovascular, central nervous system, impaired vision, hearing, etc.
Most often, accidents occur when:
- ignorance or non-observance of safety rules when using electrical appliances
- faulty household appliances, electrical equipment in enterprises
- broken wires of high voltage lines
The degree of damage to the human body depends on the way the current flows through the body, on the strength and voltage of the current, exposure time, health status, age, and the timeliness of providing first aid to the victim.
The effect of electric currents on the body
- Thermal - due to the resistance of the tissues of the body, electric energy passes into heat, causing electric burns in characteristic places of current input and output, which are called current signs. When passing through tissues, thermal energy changes and destroys them.
- Electrochemical - leads to the thickening and gluing of blood cells, the movement of ions and a change in the charge of protein molecules, the formation of vapors and gases. Affected tissue becomes cellular.
- Biological - the skeletal muscles of the heart, nervous and other systems are disrupted.
Symptoms of Electric Shock
- Unexpected fall of a person on the street or unnatural casting away by an invisible force from a current source
- Loss of consciousness, cramps
- Pronounced muscle contractions of an involuntary nature
- Loss of neurological functions - loss of memory, impaired understanding of speech and vision, impaired orientation in space, changes in skin sensitivity, the reaction of the pupil to light.
- Ventricular fibrillation and respiratory arrest - irregular heartbeat and uneven breathing
- Burns on the body with sharply defined boundaries /
Signs of skin current
These are the sites of necrosis of external tissues at the points of entry and exit of electric current due to the transfer of energy from electric to thermal. Electric burns are rarely limited only by marks on the skin, more often deeper tissues are damaged: muscles, tendons, bones. There are options when the lesion is localized under apparently intact skin.
- The shape is oval, round or linear. A roll-shaped elevation may form along the edges of the affected skin, and the middle of the mark looks a bit sunken. It is likely that the upper layer will peel off in the form of bubbles, inside of which there is no liquid.
- Color - most often pale, pale gray lighter than the surrounding skin.
- Sensitivity - there is no pain in the places of marks due to damage to nerve endings.
- Signs are deposits of metal particles on the skin: when struck by currents of low voltage on the surface of the skin, high - inside the skin. The color depends on the metal in the conductor: copper - blue-yellow particles, iron - brown. Hair rods are twisted into spirals, preserving the structure.
- loss of consciousness of varying degrees and duration,
- memory loss (retrograde amnesia),
- weakness and weakness
- dizziness and headache
- violation of thermoregulation,
- flickering in the eyes, impaired vision.
When nerves are affected, sensitivity and motor activity in the limbs change, trophism is disturbed, pathological reflexes occur. The passage of current through the brain leads to convulsions and loss of consciousness, in some cases, damage to the respiratory center leads to respiratory arrest.
High-voltage current leads to deep disorders of the central nervous system, inhibition of the center of respiration and regulation of cardiac activity, which leads to electric lethargy, imaginary death, when it seems that breathing and heartbeat are absent, but in fact the activity of vital systems is reduced to a minimum. Reanimation measures started in time lead to successful restoration of the systems.
The cardiovascular system
In most cases, functional failures of the heart are observed:
Electric shock to the heart muscle can lead to impaired contractile function, leading to fibrillation, when the myocardial fibers begin to contract in a scattered rhythm, and the heart cannot pump blood, which is equivalent to cardiac arrest in severity. Damage to blood vessels leads to bleeding.
Striated and smooth muscles
- Spasm and contraction of muscle fibers can lead to cramps.
- A strong skeletal muscle contraction can result in fractures of the spine and tubular bones.
- A spasm of the muscle layer of the vascular wall leads to an increase in pressure or myocardial infarction (in case of spasm of the cardiac arteries).
- CVS: impaired conduction of the heart, heart rhythm, obliterating endarteritis, arteriosclerosis,
- Nervous system: neuritis, encephalopathy, trophic ulcers, autonomic changes,
- Sensory organs: cataract, hearing and vision impairment,
- Musculoskeletal system: contractures (limitation of the amplitude of movements, inability to bend the limb), deformation.
Type and strength and voltage
- More than 1000-volt voltage leads to severe damage up to death, even without touching the source, but being very close - in walking distance from the current source (the so-called "voltaic arc").
- Alternating current is more dangerous than direct current
- Low-frequency current affects internal organs
- High-frequency - the surface of the skin, without leading to death.
|Amperage (mA)||The reaction of the body when exposed to the hand|
|0,9-1,2||Barely noticeable impact|
|1,2-1,6||Goosebumps and Tickling|
|2,8-4,5||Decreased mobility in the forearm|
|5,0-7,0||Shoulder muscle cramps|
|15,0-2015,0-20||The hand does not come off the current source|
|20-40||Painful muscle cramps in the whole body|
|More than 200||Deep burns|
The current path through the body - current loop
Household electric shock
- The most dangerous options are a complete loop, including 2 arms and 2 legs, arm-arm, as current flows through the heart.
- No less dangerous - hand-head, when the current passes through the brain.
As soon as possible, stop contact of the victim with the current conductor.
- you can get closer to the victim in rubber shoes or adjusting a rubber mat, dry boards, strictly on a dry surface, wearing rubber gloves on your hands. These measures are more justified at a voltage of more than 1000 Volts, but it is impossible to estimate the voltage in an electric circuit offhand, it is better to be safe, so as not to suffer yourself,
- open the circuit with non-conductive objects (pull the wire with a wooden stick) or pull the plug from the spatula, disconnect the current,
- pull the victim away from the current source with objects that do not conduct current, and without touching the body: with wooden sticks, a wooden chair, a rope, and a drag to a distance of at least 10 m.
Assess the state of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems and whether a person is conscious
Gently pat on the cheek, ask basic questions. If necessary, carry out resuscitation measures:
- check for breathing: see if there is respiratory movement of the chest, bring to your mouth and nose a mirror / glass that will fog up if you breathe, or a thin thread that should deviate when breathing,
- determine the pulse on the carotid artery by pressing the area of its projection with your fingers,
- to clear the airway for further rescue: put the palm of one hand on the victim’s forehead, raise the chin with two fingers of the other hand, extend the lower jaw forward and tilt the head back. If a spinal fracture is suspected, these actions are prohibited; when the tongue is lowered, it is permissible to fix it to the cheek with a pin.
Primary resuscitation of the victim (in the absence of pulse and breathing)
- Indirect cardiac massage is most effective for the first 3 minutes after cardiac arrest. The patient lies on his back on a flat surface, the hands of the rescuer straightened at the elbows are located in the middle of the chest between the nipples. Produce 100 rhythmic pressures for 1 minute on the chest with an amplitude of 5-6 cm and until the chest is fully expanded after pressing.
- Mouth to mouth breathing - two full exhalations after every 30 presses on the projection of the heart. If this method is not possible, only indirect cardiac massage is permissible.
- The duration of resuscitation measures is until the ambulance arrives or until signs of life appear (skin pinking, the appearance of a pulse and breathing). The victim in this case is turned on its side and expect an ambulance. The maximum duration is 30 minutes, further actions are inappropriate except for those patients who are in conditions of cold temperatures.
- Drug treatment (carried out by resuscitation ambulance team). If the above measures are unsuccessful, 1 ml of 0.1% adrenaline (intramuscularly, intravenously or intracardially) is injected within 2-3 minutes, as well as calcium chloride 10% - 10 ml, strophanthin 0.05% - 1 ml, diluted in 20 ml 40 % glucose solution.
- The primary treatment of burns is the application of a dry gauze dressing.
- Painkillers - while maintaining consciousness, an ambulance can be given to painkillers and soothing before arrival.
- Transportation of the victim to the hospital is carried out in a lying position and covered with a warm blanket.
Inpatient treatment after electric shock
- It is carried out in intensive care, and in the absence of signs of burns or electric shock - in the surgical department.
- The complex of treatment depends on the indications: from a simple toilet and dressing of burn wounds to complex surgical interventions to restore damaged organs and tissues.
- Even in the absence of local damage and a satisfactory condition, the patient is in the department under supervision for the prevention of distant reactions from systems and organs.
- Serious electrical injuries require lengthy rehabilitation.
Features of lightning strike
Damaging factors: electric current, sound and light energy, shock wave. Exposure to lightning is like a high voltage electric shock.
- Symmetric lesions are characteristic: paresis of two limbs, paraplegia.
- The signs of the current have a bizarre crimped shape and are distinguished by their long duration.
If a thunderstorm is found on the street, you can’t hide under the trees, lean against metal objects and even more so be in the water.
Reasons and consequences
Household or work-related electrical injuries are extremely common. They often arise due to non-compliance with basic, safe actions when working with electrical appliances. Consider the most common causes of electric shock:
- Running electrical appliances with any kind of malfunction
- Bare touch of bare wire
- Self-repair without observing safety rules and minimal knowledge of physics
- Strong, sudden power surges. They can not only harm human health, but also cause a fire.
- In production, erroneous supply of voltage to a place where people can work is possible.
- Domestic electrical appliances (for example, for heating a room) manufactured independently or not complying with safety regulations (bought on the market, without quality documents)
It should be understood that electric shock has a very strong negative effect on the human body. Even with a weak lesion, you should see a doctor, because delayed effects are possible.
Electricity, acting on the body, causes biological, thermal and electrolytic damage. The latter are associated with a change in the composition of the main body fluids (blood, lymph). They are destroyed, which leads to severe disruption of the functioning of internal organs.
Thermal effects are expressed in the appearance of burns on the skin, heating and destruction of nerve fibers and blood vessels. Biological disorders are manifested in uncontrolled muscle contractions, including the heart muscle and respiratory system.
All electric shock, depending on the exposure time and force, have 4 levels of damage:
- The easiest is 1 degree. Muscle contraction is felt, but the person remains conscious.
- At 2 degrees, a sharp contraction of the muscles leads to an unconscious state. An important point: breathing and heartbeat are clearly defined, there are no failures.
- The work of the heart and respiratory organs is disrupted, the person is unconscious for a long time - these are symptoms of 3 degrees of electric shock.
- Grade 4 - severe muscle spasms lead to cardiac arrest, breathing cannot be determined. In this case, clinical death occurs. Its maximum duration depends on various factors and can reach 8 minutes.
Clinical and biological deaths should be distinguished, which can only be diagnosed by medical professionals. To 4 degrees, timely and proper assistance in case of electric shock is extremely important.
Emergency care for electrical injury
Seeing a person unconscious, before calling a doctor and providing first aid, you should determine the cause of such a painful condition.
An electric shock is easily recognized by the presence of burns at the points of entry and / or exit of current. The skin will have a swelling and discolored: from pink to red. In especially severe cases, blackening of the skin in places of electric shock is possible.
Convulsive movements speak of involuntary contractions, which necessarily occur when a person gets under voltage. Weak or intermittent pulse, breathing may also be impaired.
If a person is conscious, he may complain of pain in his whole body, a feeling of numbness in his limbs. In addition, confused consciousness and incomprehensible speech due to shock are possible.
Electric current causes thermal, chemical and mechanical damage. The defeat of the peripheral nervous system is determined by the passage of current, thermal effects, burn intoxication.
Symptoms of electric shock:
- Sudden fall of a man on the street
- Unnatural casting away from a current source by an invisible force,
- Loss of consciousness,
- Pronounced neurological signs: loss of memory, impaired understanding of speech and vision, impaired orientation in space, psychomotor anxiety, weakness and weakness, dizziness and headache, impaired thermoregulation, flickering in the eyes, impaired vision.
- Change in skin sensitivity,
- Ventricular fibrillation and respiratory arrest,
- Burns on the body with sharply defined boundaries.
What to do
Electrical Injury Actions
Having discovered a person after an electric shock, it is necessary to follow a certain algorithm of actions. You need to act calmly, quickly and correctly. This will not only save his life, but also protect yourself from electric shock, under which the injured person may be.
Where to start:
First, de-energize the victim by dropping wires from him using any object that has little electrical conductivity (wood, rubber, glass, paraffin, plastic). A good option would be a twisted newspaper or magazine. If there is no way to reach a person, if possible, turn off the room using an electrical panel. If you find the victim on the street, then go to the ground in small steps, do not run.
The provision of first aid
In case of electric shock, remember that death from electric shock can occur in a few hours, so you need to:
- Call an ambulance immediately
- Assess the condition of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It is easy to pat a person on the shoulder, ask basic questions (“Do you hear me” or “What is your name”). If a person does not respond, there is no excursion of the chest and pulse on large arteries (neck), then start resuscitation measures:
- Lay the victim on a flat, solid surface, release the airways from the vomit by wrapping a clean handkerchief or piece of tissue on your finger.
- Throw back the victim’s head, open his mouth, push the lower jaw forward (Safar Triple Reception),
- Position the arms straightened at the elbows (leading hand up) 2 fingers higher from the xiphoid process,
- Produce 100 rhythmic pressures for 1 minute on the chest with an amplitude of 5-6 cm and until the chest is fully expanded after pressing. Mouth to mouth breathing - two full exhalations after every 30 presses on the projection of the heart.
- The duration of resuscitation measures is until the ambulance arrives or until signs of life appear (skin pinking, the appearance of a pulse and breathing). In this case, the victim is turned on his side and they expect an ambulance,
- If the victim is breathing , it should be laid so that the head is placed below the legs (legs should be slightly raised). This is a necessary anti-shock measure,
- Body parts damaged as a result of a burn or secondary trauma resulting from a fall must be covered with a clean cloth to prevent infection,
- In the cold season, it is necessary to ensure that frostbite does not occur, in hot weather - overheating.
Additional tips from EMERCOM of Russia:
- Before helping someone affected by electric shock, ensure your safety - use rubber shoes and gloves.
- To remove a bare electric wire from a person, use wood or plastic.
- Pull the victim away from the point of contact with the ground wire or floor.
- Call an ambulance.
- Determine the presence of a pulse on the carotid artery.
- If there are no signs of life, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (provided that you know how to do it!).
- If breathing and palpitations are restored, flip the shocked side to the side.
- When you regain consciousness, cover, warm and monitor his condition until the arrival of the ambulance.
The most effective protection against electric shock is knowledge of electrical safety.
When using any electrical appliances in the home, make sure in advance of their quality and serviceability by carefully inspecting the case. If you find cracks, dents, any damage to the insulation, then do not risk your health and do not use it. Also, the unpleasant smell of a working electrical appliance should alert.
In the dark or with poor visibility, do not try to fix the electrical equipment, as there is a high probability that you will touch unprotected parts of the wires.
Connect the plug with dry hands only. Also, when working with power tools, it is recommended to wear dry shoes with rubber soles. When in the water (shower, bath, sauna), do not use the devices connected to the network.
Prohibitions also include the following actions:
- Drill a wall or drive nails into it, without first familiarizing yourself with the wiring diagram in this room
- Working with electric tools holding onto pipes or battery
- Paint or whitewash the walls on which live power sockets are located.
To protect against electric shock the child should isolate from him all electrical appliances, wires and sockets. You can close them with special rubber baby caps with a lock that only you can open. Wires and extension cords can also be hidden under special protective covers.
When igniting a live wire, never resort to extinguishing it with water. Disconnect it first.
What happens to humans during an electric shock?
Electricity passing through the body causes severe muscle cramps. of this, a person cannot call for help and release a source of current from his hands. Then fainting and cessation of heart function occur. So contact with the current can lead to the death of the victim.
If in a way a person manages to independently terminate the action of electricity, severe burns remain on the skin, at the points of entry and exit of the current. If you have witnessed a shock from a person, you definitely need to remember the rules of first aid.
How to help the victim of electric shock properly
The most important thing to do is to stop the effect of current on a person. This should be done carefully, because if you take up the victim with your hands, electricity will pass through your body.
Correctly remove the current from the victim:
- Move the bare wire away from the person with a wooden dry stick, or chop it with a knife (ax) with a wooden handle.
- If there is no way to remove the wire, tear off the victim of electricity for clothes, but not for the body!
Once the danger of a second strike is eliminated, your actions should be as follows:
- We find the victim’s pulse and breathing. If they are absent, we do artificial respiration and bring the person to feelings.
- Immediately call a team of doctors.
- The victim, who has lost consciousness, but is breathing, is turned on his side and we monitor him until the ambulance arrives.
- It is advisable to provide first aid for burns resulting from electric shock. They need to be washed with cool water from the tap for 15 minutes. After the affected areas, wrap with a wet, clean cloth. Other means should not be smeared and treated with electric burns.
- In case of pain after an electric shock, the victim can be given an anesthetic.
If the electric shock was short-term and did not cause serious consequences immediately, you need to pay attention to symptoms such as disorientation, swallowing, breathing, severe burns. In this condition, it is best to consult a doctor.
First-aid first aid measures for electric shock
Before proceeding directly with the assistance, the situation should be assessed. The victim may still be exposed to electric current, and touching it may be unsafe.
It is advisable to immediately turn off the power source that caused the injury. If this is not possible, the source (usually a high-voltage wire) should be moved away from the victim using a dry object with low conductivity. It can be a sheet of cardboard, a dry branch of a tree, a plastic stick. Only after this can we begin assistance activities.
The algorithm of actions of the rescuer, providing first aid in case of electric shock, is as follows:
- You must make sure that you have breathing and heart activity. If there is no pulse on the carotid artery, and the person is not breathing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be started immediately (mouth-to-mouth breathing, mouth-to-nose breathing, indirect heart massage),
- If the victim is breathing, lay him in such a way that his head is lower than his legs (legs should be slightly raised). This is a necessary anti-shock measure,
- Parts of the body damaged by a burn or secondary trauma resulting from a fall must be covered with a clean cloth to prevent infection. A sterile bandage or gauze is best suited for this purpose, if not, a clean linen towel, sheet, shirt. Do not use fleecy fabrics such as cotton wool, terry towels or wool blankets,
- Further measures are to support the life of the victim until the ambulance arrives. In the cold season, it is necessary to ensure that frostbite does not occur, in hot weather - overheating.
If the victim is conscious, it must be borne in mind that electrical injury can cause damage to the nervous system, including the brain, as well as the fact that not all symptoms of damage appear immediately.
Do not do without medical assistance
A feature of injuries from electric shock is their depth and effect on almost all tissues and organs located along the electric loop. That is why, even if at first glance it seems that everything worked out, in no case should one refuse hospitalization and medical examination. Even if the victim himself believes that the provision of first aid during an electric shock was sufficient, rescuers should insist on an immediate visit to the doctor. Otherwise, it is possible that organs and tissues that have been subjected to electrical trauma will work with gradually increasing violations, which can lead to the death of a person who received a seemingly non-fatal electric shock several days after the injury.
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