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Burns and Other Injuries

Shock-related injuries include burns, internal injuries, and injuries due to involuntary muscle contractions.
Burns

The most common shock-related injury is a burn. Burns suffered in electrical incidents may be one or more of the following three types:
  • Electrical burns cause tissue damage, and are the result of heat generated by the flow of electric current through the body. Electrical burns are one of the most serious injuries you can receive and should be given immediate attention.

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  • High temperatures near the body produced by an electric arc or explosion cause arc or flash burns. They should also be attended to promptly.


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  • Thermal contact burns occur when skin comes in contact with overheated electric equipment, or when clothing is ignited in an electrical incident.


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Internal Injuries

Excessive electricity flowing through the human body can cause serious damage to internal organs. Resulting medical problems include hemorrhage (or internal bleeding), tissue destruction, and nerve or muscle damage. These internal injuries may not be immediately apparent to the victim or observers; however, left untreated, they can result in death.

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Involuntary Muscle Contraction

Normal muscle contraction is caused by very small amounts of electricity that are created within our bodies. Muscles violently contract when stimulated by excessive amounts of electricity. These involuntary contractions can damage muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and may even cause broken bones. If the victim is holding an electrocuting object, hand muscles may contract, making it impossible to drop the object and prolonging contact with the current. Also, injury or death may result when violent muscle contractions cause workers to fall from ladders and scaffolds or inadvertently strike other objects.

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