Font Size

Lightning Strike (cont.)

Lightning Strike Symptoms

A person struck by lightning may have immediate cardiac arrest. In others, you may see no outward signs of injury. Some people may lose consciousness for varying periods. They may seem confused and not remember what happened. Lightning may even flash over the outside of a person, blow off their clothes, and leave few obvious signs of injury.

Lightning may cause numerous other injuries:

  • Heart damage or cardiac arrest may occur.
  • Up to two-thirds of the seriously injured people struck by lightning have keraunoparalysis - a temporary paralysis unique to lightning strike.
  • Victims may experience superficial burns. Contrary to common belief, deep burns are rare. They occur in few lightning injuries.
  • Various types of broken bones and dislocations may be caused by lightning.
  • Skull fractures and cervical spine (neck) injuries may result from associated blunt trauma.
  • Lungs may be damaged, causing shortness of breath.
  • Eye injury may cause immediate visual problems or delayed cataract formation.
  • The eardrum is commonly ruptured. This causes pain, hearing loss, and dizziness.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/23/2014
Medical Author:

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