Electrical burns: causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention

August 12, 2017 15:31 | Burns

Electrical burns are received from lightning strikes, discharge of current or if a person is in the field of an electric field.The severity of the damage directly depends on how long the impact and the strong discharge were.This trauma differs from other burns that on the surface of the skin there is a mark in the place where an electric wave entered and exited.Here also there will be a burn.Typical is the fact that most of this trauma affects internal organs.

Features of injury

In children and pregnant women, the consequences of electric shock are usually the most severe, and in the latter such injuries can provoke a child's loss or numerous deviations in the development of internal organs.The most exposed to electric burns are men, which is often directly related to their professional activities.

Under the influence of current, not only burns occur, but also other phenomena not inherent in other types of burns.

  • So, in the fifth part of the traumatized, electric signs are subsequently determined
    - they are areas of yellow or gray hue of different shapes, which sometimes repeats the current-carrying part.Such signs gradually disappear, and the recovery rate of sensitivity and elasticity of the skin will depend only on individual indices.
  • Mechanical injuries from electric burns usually occur in 3% of cases.
  • A much higher percentage is occupied by such phenomenon as metallization of the skin( about 10%).This happens when the molten parts of the electric arc penetrate the skin.In spite of the fact that the metal particles fall, as a rule, directly to several parts of the skin, it is gradually restored independently.Only with trauma to the eye outcome is not so favorable.
  • Electroophthalmia appears after a strong flash and ultraviolet radiation.This phenomenon causes inflammation of the eyes and requires a long-term serious therapy.

The electric shock accompanying the burn is in itself a danger no less.It is capable of causing a strong contraction of muscle tissue, which, with a strong and prolonged effect, will provoke a fatal outcome due to the stopping of breathing and the work of the heart.Sometimes trauma is also accompanied by a thermal burn( for example, due to burning clothes).

Electric Shock( photo)

Electric burn photo

Classification of electrical burns

Electric burns are divided into 3 types:

  • pin , which appears when a person is directly in contact with the current conductor;
  • arc ( current does not pass through the body, the burn is obtained due to contact with the electric arc);
  • mixed , that is, under the influence of both factors.

The video below discusses first aid for burns and electric shock and arc damage:


Defects have 4 forms of severity, i.e. 4 degrees of electric burn:

  • Ipower. Mild form, enough home therapy, since the damage is superficial.Of all the symptoms, there is only swelling and redness.
  • II degree is characterized by the formation of blisters due to deeper trauma.Painful sensations are pronounced, but despite all the manifestations of the prognosis this form of electric burn is very favorable.With a small area of ​​lesion, it is possible to carry out therapy even at home.
  • III degree. The skin layer dies off, and on the skin itself, the blisters are no longer serous, but bloody contents.It is advisable, if after opening of these bubbles there will be a red surface and there is a strong pain.If the surface is dark and there is no pain, then this indicates the impossibility of self-restoring the skin.
  • With IV degree , not only the skin layers but also the bone tissue and muscles die.The condition in such cases is severe, a skin transplant is required in the obligatory case.

Causes of

The first two forms of a burn occur when the current is up to 380V, and a large current is needed to get damage to the III and IV forms.

The cause of the injury are bare wires, lightning, various installations and transformers.


With electrical burns observe a variety of symptoms:

  • paralysis,
  • fracture,
  • nausea,
  • weakness,
  • rapid breathing,
  • heart irregularities,
  • unconsciousness.

After the impact, there may be a variety of symptoms and disorders in the body that can not be accurately predicted.Thus, violations of biological processes often develop, and tissue breaks occur.Sometimes even internal organs are destroyed.


Electric burn 1 key importance are activities such as survey and inspection.Usually this is enough to determine the extent and depth of the injury.The doctor determines the areas with non-viable areas of the tissue, in order to prescribe therapeutic measures and to prevent gangrene.

The greatest attention is paid to a full examination of the victim to identify any violations that were caused by a current discharge.

About what treatment requires an electric shock and other similar situations, we will tell below.


So, let's find out what to do with an electric shock.

First aid

Call an ambulance for the victim - is a must, but before the arrival of skilled assistance can greatly help a person on their own. After stopping the electricity supply, it is necessary to check the presence of respiratory and cardiac activity, since in this case it is important to start resuscitation yourself as soon as possible.

If the burn is not so significant, it is permissible to wash it on its own for disinfection, after anesthetizing it beforehand, and then apply the dressing with the antiseptic.Further hospitalization is necessary if the lesion is III or IV stage, but in other cases, too, you need to go to the hospital.This is no longer connected with the need to treat a burn, but with the need to check health, since electric current can seriously affect the work of the heart.

Separately, we consider the provision of first aid not only for electrical, but also for thermal, radiation, chemical burns.

Medical way to

Since the burn is often accompanied by loss of consciousness and even cardiac arrest, the patient may be placed in the intensive care unit.In the future, the level of lost fluid is restored with the help of infusion therapy.

  • Anesthetics and anti-inflammatory drugs form the basis of treatment.
  • Widely used ointments, which, together with a disinfecting effect, help in addition to healing wounds.
  • To maintain immunity and prevent complications, adjust therapy based on individual lesions.So, with dysfunction of the central nervous system, you may need to prescribe antidepressants and sedatives, and in case of heart failure, a number of other medicines( diuretics, beta-blockers, cardiac glycosides).


Surgery in this form burns are used to transplant healthy tissue and to remove damaged areas.The need for such operations is assessed only individually.

With not too deep burns, excision is not done in the early stages, and if they are deep, sometimes even an amputation is required.It is necessary to remove all tissues that have ceased to be viable, otherwise this will seriously affect the patient's condition.

About when to apply a surgical intervention, the decision is also made individually, because in some cases, delay is dangerous, and in others you can not hurry, because you need to give the body time to recover from injury.After surgery, the limb is immobilized by the tire.If the victim needs amputation, all treatment measures supplement psychological help.

About Russia's first transplantation of skin a person who has received an electrical burn, tell the video:

disease prevention

The most important prevention of burns is the performance of safety techniques. It is important for children to clarify all the rules regarding the handling of any conductors of electricity.


Electric burn An electric trauma can cause dangerous complications:

  • paralysis;
  • cardiac arrest;
  • convulsions;
  • trauma to bone tissue and even the spine;
  • respiratory arrest.

In severe forms of burn, the affected limbs can be amputated if the chosen course of treatment does not bring results.Separately it is necessary to mention a burn disease.


The most favorable is a burn with a small area of ​​injury.With the electrical form of the lesion, the effect of the current on the functioning of the internal organs has a great influence.Most of the victims of domestic burns survive even with the III form of injury, if the first aid was timely.

The video below also provides information on what to do with electric shocks and other means: