Electrical Burns and Injuries
Symptoms depend on the amount of electricity and length of exposure.
Symptoms may be:
- Severe muscle spasms
- Numbness or tingling
- Weakness or lightheadedness
- Burns on the skin
- Heart pounding or fluttering from heart arrhythmias
Electric shock can also cause the lungs and heart to stop working.
Diagnosis is based on events and symptoms. A physical exam will be done.
The doctor will look at the skin. Burns will be diagnosed based on how severe they are:
|Classification of Skin Burns|
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The doctor will want to check for damage under the skin. Tests may include:
- ECG—to check the heart
- Urine or blood tests—to check for damage to muscles
- CT or MRI scans—to look for trauma to the body
Electrical burns and injuries need care right away. Treatment will depend on how bad the injuries are.
Less severe symptoms may only need to be watched. Minor burns will be treated with ointments and dressings.
Severe shocks and injuries need emergency care. This may include:
- Airway and breathing support
- IV fluids—to restore balance in the body
- Pain medicine
- Antibiotics and ointments
- Removal of dead tissue
- Surgery—for deeper burns and to repair some wounds
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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All rights reserved.
American Burn Association http://ameriburn.org
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians https://familydoctor.org
Canadian Burn Survivors Community http://canadianburnsurvivors.ca
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
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