What does an electrical shock do to the body?

If you work at an Ohio construction site, you may have some concern about the possibility of electrical accidents, and with good reason. According to WebMD, on-the-job electrical accidents account for most of the 1,000 deaths from electrocution that occur in the United States every year.

The heart, brain and eyes are susceptible to damage from an electric shock. A severe shock may cause your heart to stop beating, also known as a cardiac arrest. Electrical damage to the brain may result in anxiety, depression, personality changes or permanent seizure disorder. Exposure to an electric current can cause your muscles to contract forcefully, which can throw you clear of the electrical source. In this instance, broken bones or spinal injury are possible. A spinal injury can also result if the shock causes your neck to jerk back and forth. 

The most common injuries associated with electrical shock are burns. The severity of the burn determines its treatment. The most severe burns may require amputation, skin grafting or other surgeries. Electrical burns are usually most severe at the points where the electrical current enters the body and exits into the ground. For this reason, the feet, hands and head are among the most common sites of electrical burns.

In many cases, a person who has suffered an electrical shock may have little in the way of observable external injury. The injuries that may occur from electric shock also depend upon other factors, such as the voltage, or amount of current, involved. The higher the voltage, the greater your risk of serious injury. High voltage refers to a current of 500 volts or greater. The type of current, direct or alternating, also makes a difference. Your likelihood of survival after an electric shock is good if the shock does not cause you to go into cardiac arrest.

The most important thing to remember about administering first aid to someone who has received an electric shock is to avoid coming into contact with the electrical current. Cut the power before helping the victim, or contact the electric company in the event of a downed wire, so that you do not suffer from a second shock. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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