An electric shock is an injury to the body from direct contact with a high-voltage source.
An electrical shock may cause burns, or it may leave no visible mark on the skin. In either case, an electrical current passing through the body can cause internal damage, cardiac arrest or other injury. Under certain circumstances, even a small amount of electricity can be fatal.
First aid for electrocution, therefore, is as follows:
- DANGER – always check to make sure the patient is not attached to the power supply. If they are, isolate the power by turning it off at the source, IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO or by turning off the mains power at the switchboard. If there is no way of turning off the power, disconnect the patient from the power source using a dry non-conductive material such as cardboard, plastic or wood . Also, water and electricity don’t mix, so be very careful if your patient is lying in water and you suspect electrocution.
- Try to prevent the injured person from becoming cold.
- Apply a bandage. Cover any burned areas with a sterile gauze bandage, if available, or a clean cloth. Don’t use a blanket or towel, because loose fibers can stick to the burns.
Sources: Mayo Clinic, Paradise First Aid and University of Ibadan
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