In this article, we will discuss the different types of electrical injuries.
Electrical injuries can range from small skin burns to life threatening internal organ damage.
Before we talk about the types of electrical injuries in details, lets us get an understanding of what an electrical injury is.
What is an electrical injury
Electrical injuries is a relatively common form of mechanical trauma, which occur as a result of lightning, low-voltage or high-voltage injury, and are often associated with a high morbidity and mortality.
Types of electrical injuries
There are four main types of electrical injuries:
- Flash injuries
- Flame injuries
- Lightning injuries, and
- True electrical injuries
1. Flash Injuries
Flash injuries, caused by an arc flash, are typically associated with superficial burns, as no electrical current travels past the skin.
Arc flash is an electric current that is passed through the air when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is not sufficient to withstand the applied voltage. The flash is immediate, but the results can cause severe injury.
2. Flame injuries
Flame injuries occur when an arc flash ignites an individual’s clothing, and electrical current may or may not pass the skin in these cases.
3. Lightening Injuries
Lightning injuries, involving extremely short but very high voltage electrical energy, are associated with an electrical current flowing through the individual’s entire body.
They are injuries caused by lightning strikes; they result from three factors:
- Electrical damage.
- Intense heat.
- The mechanical energy which these generate.
While sudden death is common because of the huge voltage of a lightning strike, survivors often fare better than victims of other electrical injuries caused by a more prolonged application of lesser voltage.
4. True electrical injuries
True electrical injuries involve an individual becoming part of an electrical circuit.
The effect of this type of electrical injury depends on the voltage of the current, the pathway, the state of the body and the duration of exposure to the current.
There are four (4) types, of true electrical inujries:
- Electrocution (fatal)
- Electric shock
- Falls caused as a result of contact with electrical energy.
These types of true electrical injuries are most commonly refer to as “THE TYPES OF ELECTRICAL INJURIES”
Electrocution: Electrocution is death or injury caused by electric shock, electric current passing through the body. The word is derived from “electro” and “execution”, but it is also used for accidental death.
Electric Shock: An electric shock occurs when a person comes into contact with an electrical energy source. Electrical energy flows through a portion of the body causing a shock. Exposure to electrical energy may result in no injury at all or may result in devastating damage or death.
Read Also: What causes muscle pain after electric shock
Electric Burns: This is a burn that results from electricity passing through the body causing rapid injury. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 deaths per year occur due to electrical injuries in the United States, with a mortality rate of 3-5%.