We are aware that the prime reasons for severity of shock are the magnitude of current and duration of contact. In addition, the other factors contribute to the severity of shock are:
• age of person
• body resistance
• not wearing insulating footwear or wearing wet footwear
• Weather condition
• Wet or dry floor
• Mains voltage etc.
If assistance is close at hand, send for medical aid, the
Effects of electric shock
The effect of current at very low levels may only be an unpleasant tingling sensation, but this itself may be sufficient to cause some persons to lose their balance and fall. At higher levels of current the person receiving a shock may be thrown off his feet and will experience severe pain and possibly minor burns at the point of contact. At an excessive shock can also cause burning of the skin at the point of contact.
Treatment of electric shock
Check for the victim’s natural breathing and consciousness. Take steps to apply respiratory resuscitation if the victim is unconscious and not breathing. Check the victim for injury and burns. Decide on the suitable method of artificial resuscitation. In the case of injury/burns to chest and or belly, follow the mouth-to-mouth method. In the case of burns/injury in the back, follow Nelson’s method In case the mouth is closed tightly, use Schafer’s or Holgen-Nelson method.
Treatment for electrical burns
A person receiving an electric shock may also sustain burns when the current passes through the body. Burns are very painful. If a large area of the body is burnt, do not give treatment, except to exclude the air, eg. by covering with clean paper or a clean cloth, soaked in clean water. this relieves the pain.
Any wound which is bleeding profusely, especially in the wrist, hand or fingers must be considered serious and must receive professional attention. As an immediate first aid measure, pressure on the wound itself is the best means of stopping the bleeding and avoiding infection.
Always in cases of severe bleeding
- make the patient to lie down and rest
- if possible, raise the injured part above the level of the
body (Fig 1)
- apply pressure to the wound
- call for medical assistance
To control severe bleeding
Squeeze together the sides of the wound. Apply pressure as long as it is necessary to stop the bleeding. When the bleeding has stopped, put a dressing over the wound and cover it with a pad of soft material. (Fig 2) For an abdominal wound which may be caused by falling on a sharp tool, keep the patient bending over the wound to stop internal bleeding.
Apply a clean pad and bandage firmly in place. If bleeding is very severe apply more than one dressing. (Fig 3)