In this article, we will discuss the different types of electrical burns.
Remember that electrical burns is a type of a true electrical injury.
Electrical burns happen when the body comes in contact with an electric current causing rapid injury. Electrical burns causes more subdermal damage than thermal and chemical burns; it can affect internal tissues and muscles resulting to long-term, negative effects on your health.
Note that – Depending on the voltage, current, pathway, duration of contact, and type of circuit, electrical burns can cause a variety of injuries through several mechanisms.
Causes of electrical burns
Electrical burns can be caused by:
- Touching or grasping electrically live objects,
- Mistakenly inserting fingers into an electrical socket,
- Falling into an electrified water,
- Lightning strikes, etc.
Now that we’ve had a background on electrical burns, lets go down to the types of electrical burns.
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Types of electrical burns
- Low-voltage burn. This type of burn is produced by contact with a power source of 500 volts or less. The current at this voltage is not enough to cause tissue damage along its path except at the contact site. The result of this type of burn may be mild and superficial, or severe depending on the contact time.
- High voltage burn: In this type of burn, the victim makes direct contact with an high voltage supply causing damage which runs its course throughout the body. The victim may have few exterior injuries, but most injuries occurs underneath the skin; i.e, Subdermal tissues are severely damaged.
- Arc burn: Arc burn occurs when electrical energy passes from a high-resistance area to a low-resistance area. In this type of burn, no contact is required as the electricity ionizes air particles to complete the circuit. The heat generated can be as high as 4,000 degrees Celsius. This type of burn can throw the victim and cause severe injuries. It throws the victim because of the high-current arc which produces a pressure wave blast in excess of 1000 pounds per square inch of pressure.
- Flash burn: Flash burns are caused by electrical arcs that pass over the skin. The intense heat and light of an arc flash can cause severe burns in a fraction of a second. Although the burns on the skin are largely superficial and cover a large area, tissues beneath the skin are generally undamaged and unaffected. This typically occurs when the frequency of the AC current is significantly higher than the 50 or 60 Hz used in land-based electrical distribution systems (such as in aircraft).
- Flame burn: Flame burns are caused by contact to objects that were ignited by an electrical source when associated with flash and arc burns.
- Oral burns. Oral burns are more common in children, and are most often caused by biting into an electrical cord. Faulty dental equipment can also caused oral burns in some cases. Electric current typically passes from one side of the child’s mouth to the other, possibly causing deformity.
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