Font Size

Lightning Strike (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care After a Lightning Strike

Call 911 emergency services to transport a person for any of these reasons:

  • Any period of unconsciousness
  • Paralysis
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back or neck pain
  • Obvious deformity of an extremity such as an arm or leg indicating a possible broken bone
  • Any noticeable burns

How is a lightning strike diagnosed?

The doctor may order some tests depending on the history of the strike and the findings of the physical examination. Some of the tests that might be ordered include the following:

  • ECG (electrocardiogram) to check the heart
  • Heart monitor to watch for arrhythmias (rhythm disturbances of the heart)
  • CT scan of the brain or abdomen
  • X-rays
  • Laboratory tests such as blood count and chemistries including enzymes that may indicate heart damage

Lightning Strike Self-Care at Home

Start CPR immediately on any person who is not breathing and does not have a pulse. Call 911 for emergency medical services. Instructions for doing CPR can be given over the phone by the 911 dispatch center.

Any person suspected of being injured by lightning should be evaluated in a hospital's emergency department, even if injuries are not obvious.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/20/2016
Medical Author:

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Lightning Strike:

Ligntning Strike - Patient Experience

Have you been struck by lightning? Please describe your experience.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Lightning Injuries »

Over the last century, records for environmental injuries and mortality indicate that lightning has consistently been one of the top 3 environment-related causes of death and the second most common storm-related cause of death, exceeded only by flash floods.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary