Understanding Electric Shock

352 words | 2 page(s)

Electric shock represents a significant risk for individuals who work around electricity. It is important to understand the risks of electric shock and the effects it has on the body. Electric shock occurs when an electric current enters the body. Electrical injuries are not common; however, when they do occur, they can cause significant morbidity and also mortality for the victim. Adults normally suffer these injuries at work; children normally suffer them at home. The effect on the body is varied. Since the cardiovascular system and the nervous system function with an electrical current, both of these systems can be adversely impacted. In addition, the injury can cause serious burns for the individual.

The human body is a good conductor of electricity; the currents pass through the body tissues exceptionally well. The individual may suffer cardiac or respiratory arrest. The heart works on an electrical current that may be disrupted by the injury. The nervous system and skeletal muscular system may also be negatively impacted. This can cause seizures or loss of control of the muscles. This is the cause of the respiratory arrest. In addition, the person can suffer a contact burn at the site of the injury. Burns may also occur where the electricity exits the body. Internal burns may also result. The shock of the current may fracture bones (Electrical injury, 2013).

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The level and type of current helps determine the seriousness of the injuries. However, it is estimated that currents greater than 6 amps may result in injuries. Low voltage AC injuries of <1000 volts traditionally result in no loss of consciousness. Injuries from >1000 AC volts tend to result in cardiac arrest and/or loss of consciousness. While AC injuries tend to result in a seizure activity, DC injuries tend to throw the victim away from the source of electricity. This can also result in injuries as the victim impacts the ground or other object. Injuries from DC tend not to cause loss of consciousness (Cushing, 2013).

  • Cushing, TA. (2013, April). Electrical injuries. EMedicine. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/770179-clinical
  • Electrical injury. (2013, October 31). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved November 7, 2013, from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000053.htm

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