Saturday, April 9, 2011

Basic First Aid For Electrical Burns

Electrical burns are sustained when there is a contact with electricity, whether it is direct contact (DC) or alternating current (AC).

It may appear minor or may not show any signs of injury at all on the skin but the damage can extend deeper into the tissues below the skin. If a strong electrical current passes through the body, internal damage such as cardiac rhythm irregularities or cardiac arrest may happen. Sometimes the jolt associated with the contact may cause a person to be thrown off or to fall which may result in fractures or solid abdominal organ trauma and other associated injuries.

While helping someone with an electrical burn and waiting for medical help, follow these steps:

  1. Look first. Don't touch. The person may still be in contact with the electrical source. Touching the person may pass the current through you.
  2. Turn off the source of electricity if possible. If not, move the source away from both you and the injured person using a dry, nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood.
  3. Check for signs of circulation (breathing, coughing or movement). If absent, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) immediately.
  4. Prevent shock. Lay the person down with the head slightly lower than the trunk, if possible, and the legs elevated.
  5. Cover the affected areas. If the person is breathing, cover any burned areas with a sterile gauze bandage, if available, or a clean cloth. Don't use a blanket or towel, because loose fibers can stick to the burns.