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Electrical burns: First aid/Conditions/Prevention

 Electrical burns: First aid

If you are injured by electricity, you can treat it the same way as you would any other minor burn.

Electrical burns: First aid

When to contact your doctor

If you have been injured by contact with electricity, you should see a doctor. Electrical injuries can cause damage to internal tissues, even in your arms or legs. The damage may be more severe than you would expect from the burn on your skin.


  • If the person who is injured is still in contact with the electrical current, do not touch them.
  • If you are burned by something that is a high-voltage wire or lightning, call 911 or your local emergency number. Don't get close to high-voltage wires until the power is turned off. If overhead power lines are present, stay at least 20 feet (about 6 meters) away. The leaves are jumping and sparking.
  • Do not move a person with an electrical injury unless it is necessary to do so in order to protect them from immediate danger.

When to seek emergency care

If you see someone who is injured, call 911 or your local emergency number.

  • Severe burns
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Muscle pain and contractions
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

Do these things right away while waiting for medical help: 1. Call 911 if you are in danger. 2. Remain still and do not move until help arrives. 3. Try to drink fluids to stay hydrated.

  • If you can, turn off the electricity source. If not, move it as far away from you and the injured person as possible using something nonconductive like cardboard or wood.
  • If the person does not show any signs of circulation, such as breathing, coughing, or movement, begin CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).
  • Make sure the injured person doesn't get too cold.
  • Cover any burned areas with a sterile bandage if one is available or a clean cloth. Do not use a blanket or towel, as they can contain fibers that will stick to the burns.
Electrical burns: First aid/Conditions/Prevention

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