If a person is electrocuted, it is important that they receive immediate medical help. While not all electrocutions result in life-long injuries or acute wounds, there is always a potential for lasting symptoms and side effects.

Electrocution is known to produce some neurological side effects along with physical injury. The severity of an injury is based on the voltage as well as external conditions, like what you’re wearing or doing at the time of the electrocution.

What are some common signs of electrocution?

It’s usually hard to miss being electrocuted. It’s painful, and it can leave burns. Other symptoms include:

  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Paralysis
  • Numbness
  • Problems with vision, speech or hearing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Burns on the skin, sometimes in a “lightning” pattern

Although it’s not common, it is possible to suffer broken bones from electrocution. Acute burns from electrical shocks are common with longer exposure.

What should you do if you’re electrocuted?

Go to the hospital or call 911 right away. Any shock of 500 volts or more needs to be evaluated in the emergency room. Lower-voltage shocks should also be seen, though, potentially not right away. You should always see a doctor after an electrocution if you are pregnant, have burns that are worsening or not healing well or if it’s been 5 years since your last tetanus booster.

An electrocution may not cause all symptoms right away, and they could develop over time. Get the medical care you need as soon as you can, so you can make sure that you are protecting your health and have the best chance of a full recovery.

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