Electric Shock – a Silent Killer

An electric shock happens when an electric current passes through body. This can burn both internal and external tissue and cause organ damage.

A range of things can cause an electric shock, including:

  • Power lines
  • Lightning
  • Electric machinery
  • Electric weapons, such as Tasers
  • Household appliances
  • Electrical outlets

The symptoms of an electric shock depend on how severe it is.
Potential symptoms of an electric shock include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Breathing problems
  • Headache
  • Problems with vision or hearing
  • Burns
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat

The following table contains details of the effect of alternating electric current during a hand-to foot shock of one second duration.

Current level (milli-amperes)Probable Effect on Human Body
1 mAPerception level. Slight tingling sensation
5 mASlight shock felt; not painful but disturbing. Average individual can let go
6 – 16 mAPainful shock. Loss of muscular control. Commonly referred to as the freezing current or “let-go” range.
17 – 99 mAExtreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscular contractions. Individual cannot let go the source in contact with. Can cause ventricular fibrillation.
100 – 2000 mAVentricular fibrillation (uneven pumping of the heart.) Muscular contraction and nerve damage begins to occur. Death likely.
> 2,000 mACardiac arrest, internal organ damage, and severe burns. Death probable.

Electric shock causes due to unsafe maintenance practices, faulty design of the equipments, frayed or damaged cords or extension leads. An electric shock occurs when a person comes into contact of electrical energy source.

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