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Electrical Burns: First Aid

Electrical burns can be caused by a variety of power sources. Examples include lightning, stun guns, and contact with electrical currents on the job site or in the home.

Minor electrical skin burns are treated like any other minor burns. Place a cool damp cloth over the area. Do not break any blisters. After gently cleansing the skin, apply a bandage to the area. If you have any questions about the severity of the burn, please contact a healthcare provider.

When to contact your doctor

Electrocution injuries should be seen by a healthcare provider. The injury may look worse than a burn on the skin. Sometimes the shock can cause damage to the skin, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves, usually in the arms or legs. The heart, brain, and other body organs may be damaged.


  • DO NOT ‘Do not touch the injured person if they are still in contact with electricity By.
  • If the source of the burn is a high voltage line or lightning, call 911 or your local emergency number. Do not go near high-voltage wires until the power is turned off. Overhead power lines are usually not insulated. Stay at least 50 feet (about 15 meters) apart—more if wires jump and spark.
  • Do not drive over a collapsed power line. If a live wire comes into contact with your vehicle, stay in the vehicle. Before touching any metal in an attempt to leave the vehicle, call 911 or your local emergency number to disable the power cord.
  • Do not move the belt unless the person is in immediate danger of electric shock.

When to seek emergency care

If the injured person: Please call 911 or your local emergency number:

Severe Burns

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Arrhythmia (arrhythmia)
  • no pulse, no breathing (sudden cardiac arrest)

  • Muscle pain and contractions
  • Seizures Loss of consciousness

    Immediately take these actions while waiting for medical help:

    • Turn off the power if possible. If not, move the source away from you and the injured person. Use a dry, non-conductive object made of cardboard, plastic, or wood.
    • If the patient is not breathing, coughing, or moving and not breathing, start a CPR pulse.
    • Do not remove clothing or attempt to clean the burn area. Cover any burn area with a sterile gauze bandage (if available) or a clean cloth or sheet. Don’t use a blanket or towel, as fluff or loose fibers can stick to the burn.
    • Try to prevent the injured person from catching a cold.

      August. May 5, 2022

        Burns. American College of Emergency Physicians. Accessed 17 May 2022.

      1. Shock. American College of Emergency Physicians. Access date is May 17, 2022.
      2. Electrical injury. Merck Manual Professional Edition. Accessed 17 May 2022.
      3. International Burn Society. ISBI ​​Burn Care Practice Guidelines, Part 2. burn. 2018; doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2018.09.012.
      4. Ferri FF. Electric shock and lightning damage. In: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2022. Elsevier; 2022. Accessed 17 May 2022.
      5. Pinto DS et al. Environmental and weapon-related electrical injuries. Accessed 17 May 2022.
      6. Natural disasters and severe weather. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 19 May 2022.
      7. Hoecker JL (Expert Opinion). Mayo Clinic. June 25, 2022.
      8. Work safely around downed power lines. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Accessed June 29, 2022.




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