An electrical burn is caused when someone comes into contact with a live current. This could be by touching an electrically live object or electrified water. Although extremely rare, you can receive an electrical burn by being struck by lightning. Here at ETR, we want to give our advice on how to prevent electrical burns.
Electrical or thermal?
When you are burnt, it’s important to make the distinction between thermal and electrical burns. They are obtained in different ways and require different treatments. It’s easy to overlook a burn and wait for it to heal, but always remember that an electrical burn can do significant damage to blood vessels, nerves, muscles, tendons, fat and bones throughout the body.
Symptoms of electrical burns
Symptoms will depend on the amount of electricity that passed through the body and length of time the current was in contact with the body. A couple of symptoms to keep in mind are:
- Severe muscle contractions
- Numbness or tingling
- Visible burns on the skin
- Feeling disoriented
- Low blood pressure which can lead to lightheadedness and weakness
What should I do?
If you think you have been electrically burnt, our advice is to seek medical treatment and advice as quickly as you can. If you are with someone who has been electrically burnt, ensure that they are not in contact with the current before you touch them. Try not to move them until medical assistance has arrived.
Avoiding electrical burns
There are lots of ways to prevent electrical burns, especially at home. Here are a few of the most obvious and effective ways.
- First of all, ensure all outlets accessible by children are safe by covering them to prevent wet hands going near them!
- Avoid putting any wires or electrical items in a place where water could reach it, for example beside the kettle or sink.
- Also, make sure you have a working RCD fitted in your home to protect you from leaking currents.
- It is important to keep electrical wires away from infants because if they chew on them, they could obtain an oral burn.
- Finally, make sure you don’t have any counterfeit electrical appliances in your home as these are often cheaply made and will bypass certain safety requirements to reduce costs. Only buy from reputable retailers or straight from the manufacturer.
There are lots of ways to prevent an electrical burn. They are easily done and can have a world of negative effects, so it’s important to approach electrics with caution and knowledge. With ETR’s top tips for How to Prevent Electrical Burns, you can’t go wrong.