Emergency treatment for electric shock is an integral part of our First Aid training in Melbourne.
Every year, 76 Australians die from electric shock, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. So, it’s vital to be able to identify the symptoms and provide appropriate treatment that could help avoid further deaths.
Electric shock from faulty household appliances is an all too common occurrence. Utensils, fingers, even mouths, accidentally come into contact with power sources.
Not just indoors from electrical appliances and power outlets, electric shocks also occur outdoors. There is the threat from lightning and overhead power lines, as well as machinery and lighting powered by electricity. Even tasers.
Electric shock — where an electric current passes through the body — can result in external and internal tissue and organ damage.
Symptoms of Electric Shock
The symptoms of electric shock depend on the severity of the shock (see below), but could include:
• Losing consciousness
• Breathing difficulties
• Muscle spasms
• Body tingling or feeling numb
• Heartbeat irregularities
• Hearing impairment
• Vision impairment
Other internal medical issues caused from electric shocks include compartment syndrome — a serious swelling of the limbs through muscle damage. This may not occur directly following the shock, instead becoming evident several hours later.
What Determines the Severity of Electric Shock?
The following factors affect the potential for injury from electric shock:
• Power voltage
• Length of time of the shock
• Path the electrical current has travelled through the body
• Victim’s general health
• Current type — AC (alternating current) is generally more dangerous than DC (direct current), as muscle spasms caused by AC make it more difficult to release the electrical source
First Aid for Electric Shock
There are several steps you can take to help minimise the impact of electric shock:
1. Avoid touching the person if they are still in contact with the electrical source.
2. The source needs to be switched off or carefully removed. If you need to handle a live electrical source, use an object that doesn’t conduct electricity — wood or rubber are smart options.
3. Don’t change the shock victim’s position, unless there’s a danger they’ll be shocked again.
4. Call emergency services if the victim has been struck by power lines or lightning. The same applies if they are experiencing breathing difficulties, seizures, muscle spasms, heartbeat irregularities, or numbness.
5. Assess the victim’s breathing and pulse and provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation if required. If they are in shock, elevate their legs and feet.
6. Place sterile gauze, if available, over the burns and keep the victim warm.
To properly prepare yourself for providing First Aid and CPR in the event of electric shock and other medical emergencies, you can complete your first aid training in Melbourne in one day with industry leader, Australia Wide First Aid.
You’ll find no one better equipped or more affordable in the Melbourne CBD (not to mention 19 other locations around Australia) than Australia Wide First Aid. Find out more about First Aid training in Melbourne by phoning 1300 336 613.
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