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Electric Shock (cont.)

Electric Shock Symptoms

Patient Comments

A person who has suffered an electric shock may have very little external evidence of injury or may have obvious severe burns. Some people may be in cardiac arrest after electric shock or a lightning strike.

  • Burns are usually most severe at the points of contact with the electrical source and the ground. The hands, heels, and head are common points of contact.
  • In addition to burns, other injuries are possible if the person has been thrown clear of the electrical source by forceful muscular contraction. Consideration should be given to the possibility of a spinal injury. The person may have internal injuries especially if he or she is experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, or abdominal pain.
  • Pain in a hand or foot or a deformity of a part of the body may indicate a possible broken bone resulting from the electric shock causing violent muscle contraction.
  • In children, the typical electrical mouth burn from biting an electric cord appears as a burn on the lip. The area has a red or dark, charred appearance.
  • Affected individuals should be examined for entry and exit marks to help determine the extent of the electric shock (for example, a burn on the right-hand may mark the entrance point of electric shock while another usually less - intense burn on the elbow shows circuit electricity traveled - from the hand to the elbow).
  • Some individuals may suffer a cardiac arrest after electric shock (they may not have a pulse or be breathing).
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/2/2014

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