DESCRIPTIONElectric shock is an injury caused by electricity passing through the body. An electric shock can affect the entire body.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis (minor burns only).
Emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at the time of injury, if the victim is unconscious and not breathing. See HOME CARE.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSBurns at areas of contact. The burns are often deep.
Heart damage, including cardiac arrest.
Severe muscle spasms that may cause fractures.
Depends on where the current enters your child's body and the kind of electrical current. Following are the most common:
Contact with electricity from downed power lines, exposed appliance wires, faulty electrical equipment, lightning strikes, or other electrical sources.
RISK FACTORSStanding on wet ground or under a tree during an electrical storm.
Mishandling of electrical equipment.
Activities that involve electrical machinery or lines.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Inspect your house, especially the kitchen, bathroom, and workshop, for hazards.
Use safety plugs in empty electrical outlets to prevent children from inserting metal objects.
Replace worn cords or wiring at home.
Don't let your children use hair dryers or radios in the bathroom where they can fall into a tub or sink.
Don't let your children repair electrical equipment unless they know how.
Urge your children to wear protective gloves and clothing for activities that involve exposure to electricity.
Get your family indoors during electrical storms.
MEDICAL TESTSDiagnosis is usually obvious from the circumstances.
Permanent brain damage.
Severe burns of the child's skin and underlying muscle.
Death from heart damage.
Depends on the extent of your child's injury. Full recovery is likely if major brain or heart damage does not occur.
If your child has received an electric shock by touching live electrical wires, shut off the power or remove the wires with a non-metal object before giving aid. Don't electrocute yourself trying to help your child.
If your child is unconscious and not breathing:
-- Yell for help. Don't leave the victim.
-- Begin mouth-to-mouth breathing immediately.
-- If there is no heartbeat, give your child external cardiac massage.
-- Have someone call 0 (operator) or 911 (emergency) for an ambulance or medical help.
-- Don't stop cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until help arrives.
MEDICATIONMedicine usually is not necessary for electric shock.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
No restrictions, if the shock is mild. If the shock is severe, the child may resume activities gradually as injuries heal.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet following electric shock.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child receives an electric shock severe enough to cause injury.
The following occurs during convalescence:
-- Irregular heartbeat.
-- Cough with sputum.