An electric shock occurs when a human body gets in contact with a source of voltage that is high enough to cause current flow. There are thousands of people who die every year because of electric shock. It is important that whenever you use an electronic product, make sure that you have read through the manual carefully and checked the product for any loose wire ends and for incorrect insulation. It is important to follow all the safety precautions while using these devices.
The minimum current that a human can feel is 1 milliampere (mA). The current can result in damage of tissues or fibrillation if it is of high voltage. Electric shock can also cause death and is referred to as electrocution. It is usually said that currents about 100 mA can be lethal when applied to the sensitive parts of the human body. There are a number of complications that can arise from an electric shock. Some of these are mentioned below:
Shocks can give rise to burns. An electric shock for a lower voltage can result in superficial burns on the surface of the skin. But, electric shocks of voltage between 500 to 1000 volts can give rise to internal burns. It can lead to organ burns that can also affect the heart. This makes the burns; caused from electric shock different from chemical burns and fire burns. The burns from an electric shock can result in organ failure and can lead to death. It is difficult to treat these kinds of burns and the healing process is usually slow and difficult.
An electric shock can interfere with the nervous control especially on the heart, lungs. Repeated electric shock that does not lead to death has been shown to be a cause for neuropathy. When the current moves near the head then loss of consciousness occur fast.
Effect on the Chest
When a small current 50 or 60 Hz is passed through the chest, it can result in ventricular fibrillation. If this is not treated immediately by defibrillation, it can be lethal as the heart muscle cells start moving independently. A shock more than 200 mA is so strong that it can literally stop the heart muscles from moving.
When a person is affected by an electric shock it can lead to:
- Collapse of the person.
- Severe muscle contractions that can result in fractures, loss of consciousness or dislocation of joints.
- The respiratory system can be paralyzed and the heartbeat can either become very fast and irregular or can completely stop beating.
- Any high voltage transmission of electric shock can cause death of tissues at the entry and the exit points of the current. There can be presence of edema as the blood at the point coagulates and the muscles swell up.
- A drop in blood pressure, disturbance in fluid and electrolyte balance can cause the release of myoglobin and result in kidney failure.