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Electric Shock (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

For a high-voltage shocks (over 500 volts or a lightning strike), seek care at a hospital's Emergency Department; if you or the patient is unsure of the voltage exposure, seek medical care. Following a low-voltage shock, call the doctor for the following reasons:

  • If it has been more than 5 years since the affected person's last tetanus booster
  • Burns that are not healing well
  • Burns with increasing redness, soreness, or drainage
  • Any electric shock in a woman who is pregnant

A person shocked by high voltage (500 volts or more) should be evaluated in the Emergency Department. It may be prudent to get prehospital care, usually obtained by calling 911. Following a low-voltage shock, a person should go to the Emergency Department for the following concerns:

  • Any noticeable burn to the skin
  • Any period of unconsciousness
  • Any numbness, tingling, paralysis, vision, hearing, or speech problems
  • Any electric shock if a woman is more than 20 weeks' pregnant
  • Any other worrisome symptoms
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/28/2014

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