First Aid for Electric Shock

Like liquids and metals, our body is also a good conductor of electricity. Electric shock can cause damage to our body – it may damage the tissue under our skin’s surface or affect our heart’s electrical system.

Many of us have suffered from minor electric shocks sometime in our lives. This is no cause for serious concern. However, a faulty household appliance or a lose wire can shock the life out of us, literally. Many fatal electric shock incidents happen at home and many children who love to stick their little fingers anywhere, especially into sockets and plug points, get electrocuted. Below are the things you can do if someone receives electric shock in your home.

During electric shock

The victim who is receiving electric shock usually gets stuck to the electricity source. So the first thing to do is to separate him or her from the live power source. Switch off the power supply and disconnect the plug. In many cases, simply turning off the switch does not stop the electric flow, so it is best to pull out the fuse or turn off the main power supply.

In some circumstances it may be better to pull the person away from the source. However, you must not touch him or her with your bare hands. The current will also pass through you if you do so. You could use dry and nonconductive material like a chair or a wooden stick (whatever is handy) to separate the person from the live electric current. If you are barefoot, stand on any nonconductive material such as books or wooden chair. Make sure that these materials are not wet.

After the victim has been separated from the electric source

After you have separated the victim from the electricity source, check his or her breathing. If it has stopped or unusually slow, perform CPR immediately. Raise the victim’s legs, letting the head slightly lower than the rest of his or her body. Move the person as slightly as possible. This is to avoid further injuries he or she may have suffered to the spine and neck areas.

If you see that the person has burns, remove the clothing from the affected area immediately, unless the garment is stuck to the victim’s skin. Rinse the burn in cool, running water. Then, cover the affected area with a dressing. Remember: do not apply ice or cotton dressing or any ointment to the burn.

Look for signs and symptoms

Contact your local emergency number or call 911 immediately if any one of these symptoms occurs: heart rhythm problems or arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, muscle pain, muscle contractions, respiratory failure, numbness and tingling, seizures, or unconsciousness.


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