How to Treat Electrical Burns

Electrical Burns

It is quite common to burn electrical burns. Such damage occurs when an electric current is applied to the human body. Injuries caused by electricity are very dangerous because they have a direct effect on cardiac activity and often lead to the death of the victim.

Electrical burns include damage not only to the electric current from sockets, wires and electrical appliances but also from a lightning strike. When there is a burn with an electric shock, two wounds are formed on the human body – the places of entry and exit of electricity. These two lesions can be in paired organs, for example, in one and the second leg, or in opposite parts of the human body.

The path of the electrolyte in the human body is a loop or an arc. When the current passes from one leg to the other, one speaks of the lower arc. The arc burn is more dangerous if it occupies a large area, the most dangerous is the so-called full loop. During such electric trauma, the electrolyte passes through the entire body of the victim, covering arms, legs, head, internal organs, including vital ones, because electric burns of this kind almost always lead to death.

When an electrical burn occurs, its outcome often depends on the strength of the voltage. So, with an electric shock of up to two hundred and forty volts, the muscle tissue contracts and the person is unable to release an electric appliance from his hand, which led to a burn. When an electric shock strikes a greater strength, the victim reclines and the muscles relax. It can not be said, the burns by the current of what forces are more dangerous. With a slight electrical injury, there is a possibility of longer contact with the device, which can lead to cardiac arrest, and with a strong impact there are third and fourth degree burns with charring and fatal.

Causes of Electrical Burns

Current burn can be obtained from:

  1. Touching a bare wire, a lamp holder, a broken electrical appliance;
  2. Touching the metal part of the appliance with wet hands;
  3. Touching directly to two live wires;
  4. Lightning strike;
  5. Standing in the water in which there is a bare wire or electrical appliance.

Sometimes you can burn yourself with a stray current while in the bathroom, with the poor grounding of sewer or water pipes.

Provision of pre-hospital care

The treatment and outcome of the lesion depend a lot on the timely provision of pre-hospital care to the victim. First aid in electric burn begins with the termination of contact with an electrical appliance or wire. It is necessary as soon as possible to pull out of the socket the device, which the victim holds in his hand. If the wire is the cause of the impact and burn, it is necessary to fold it with a wooden or plastic object. At this stage, use of metal or wet objects is strictly forbidden.

In cases where it is not possible to de-energize or eliminate the current source, it is necessary to move the subject of the person aside to the same non-conducting current. People who provide first aid should not touch the victim with their hands until their contact with electricity has been eliminated, as this may cause an electric shock from the person providing assistance.

If the victim is conscious and complains of painful feelings, you can help him by giving an anesthetic drug. Next, you should examine the body and find the entry and exit points of electrolytes, cover them with a sterile bandage and call an ambulance. When a person is assisted in a burn with electricity, one should not wash the wounds with water, since “sleeping” electrolytes can remain in the tissues.

When the victim is unconscious, first aid for electrical burns begins with an assessment of his condition. Immediately need to check the presence of pulse and respiration. If both are present, you should bring a person to live with the help of cotton wool with ammonia, brought under the nose of the victim. In the absence of pulse or respiration, resuscitation is performed.

It is better if resuscitation will be carried out by two people. One person makes artificial respiration, throwing back the victim’s head slightly for better ventilation of the respiratory tract, and clutching the nose with two fingers, the second person carries an indirect cardiac massage. After two deep breaths in the victim’s mouth, you should make thirty very rapid hands pressing on the chest in the heart area. For children up to the year, indirect heart massage is done with the fingers to prevent fracture of the ribs and damage to the internal organs.

When first aid is provided for burns, the victim’s head should be slightly lower than the whole body, therefore, under the legs and back of the patient, rollers of things, blankets, towels are placed. Burn wounds are bandaged with sterile bandages so that the infection does not get inside. It is worth very carefully examine the body of a person who received a burn with electricity since the wounds with an electric shock are always two. Provided first aid should not harm the victim, so you can not smear wounds. All further medical measures are carried out by the ambulance brigade and the doctor in the hospital.


Before starting treatment, the doctor examines the patient, finds out from the witnesses, for what reason the injury was received. In general, the external examination and collection of anamnesis are sufficient to determine the extent and area of damage. Based on the degree of injury, the doctor can choose the right treatment. The patient is obliged to take blood and urine for tests, and also conduct an examination of internal organs, which could have been suspected of being damaged by the electrolyte.


If there is an electric shock, the treatment can be carried out by two methods:

  1. Drug therapy;
  2. Surgical intervention.

Conservative treatment is suitable for minor lesions of the first or second degree. The doctor prescribes pain medications, as well as antibiotics to prevent infection of the burn wound. In order for the skin to recover faster, doctors prescribe regenerating ointments. According to the indications, other medications are prescribed, which normalize the general condition of the patient, the work of the heart, liver and other organs.

If the burn has a third or fourth degree, doctors perform an operation to excise necrosis and transplant the patient with new skin. After removal of dead skin and soft tissues, the wound is cleaned, the skin for transplantation, most often, is taken from the patient’s thigh, or specially treated and prepared pork skin is used. After the operation, the wound is treated and a dressing is applied, which changes twice a day until complete healing.

Anyone can electrocute, so you should be very careful when dealing with electricity. If the electric burn has arisen, the main thing is to immediately provide the victim with first aid and deliver to the nearest hospital for diagnosis and subsequent treatment.



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