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What To Do When Someone Has An Electric Shock

Symptoms of electric shock

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
  • compartment syndrome

What to do when someone has an electric shock

If someone else receives a shock, keep several things in mind to both help them and keep yourself safe:

  • Don’t touch someone who has been shocked if they’re still in contact with the source of electricity.
  • Don’t move someone who has been shocked, unless they’re in danger of further shock.
  • Turn off the flow of electricity if possible. If you can’t, move the source of electricity away from the person using a non-conducting object. Wood and rubber are both good options. Just make sure you don’t use anything that’s wet or metal based.
  • Stay at least 20 feet away if they’ve been shocked by high-voltage power lines that are still on.
  • Call 911 or local emergency services if the person was struck by lightning or if they came into contact with high-voltage electricity, such as power lines.
  • Call 911 or local emergency services if the person has trouble breathing, loses consciousness, has seizures, has muscle pain or numbness, or is feeling symptoms of a heart issue, including a fast heartbeat.
  • Check the person’s breathing and pulse. If necessary, start CPR until emergency help arrives.
  • If the person is showing signs of shock, such as vomiting or becoming faint or very pale, elevate their legs and feet slightly, unless this causes too much pain.
  • Cover burns with sterile gauze if you can. Don’t use Band-Aids or anything else that might stick to the burn.
  • Keep the person warm.

Treatment for electric shocks 

Depending on the injuries, potential electric shock treatments include:

  • burn treatment, including the application of antibiotic ointment and sterile dressings
  • pain medication
  • intravenous fluids
  • a tetanus shot, depending on the source of the shock and how it occurred

For severe shocks, a doctor may recommend staying in the hospital for a day or two so they can monitor you for any heart issues or severe injuries.


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