It is important to be extra cautious around electricity, accidents occur often but we don’t care to be extra careful while handling electrical appliances. There are lots of don’ts concerning electricity we consciously ignore or pay little attention to. Exposed or damaged wires or cables, are often neglected because we assume they are not harmful or dangerous. What about taking your phone to the bathroom? Do you know this habit is dangerous and can cause a fire hazard because electricity and water don’t mix? There are ways to prevent electrical hazards from occurring, if only we start paying attention to the dos around electricity.
What are Electrical Burns?
Electrical burns are injuries caused by an electrical current. This occurs as a result of electricity passing through the body and causing damage to the internal organs and tissues. Electrical burns may only cause surface damage to the skin; however, most of the times, there will be severe damage to the deep tissue under the skin. In severe cases of electrical burn, the electricity can strain the heart, cause a shock to the brain and injure other organs.
Causes and Types of Electrical Burns.
Electrical burns can be caused in different ways, you can incur electrical burn from touching live and exposed wire(s), children inserting their fingers into electrical sockets, short-circuiting and falling into electrified water or lightning strikes. Electrical burns are divided into six categories.
Note: An electrical burn victim can suffer from any of the combinations of these categories.
- Low-Voltage Electrical Burn: Power source of 500 volts or less that cause electrical burn, is classified as a low-voltage burn. This type of burn can’t cause damage to the tissue present along its path except at the point of contact. These electrical burns are superficial and mild but can also be severe depending on the duration of contact.
- High Voltage Electrical Burn: This type of burn is extremely severe and occurs when the victim comes into direct contact with a high voltage supply. External burn injuries that occur in this type of electrical burn can cause damage to the skin and sub-dermal tissues.
- Flash Electrical Burn: Flash burn produces intense heat and light that result in severe burns in a fraction of a second. The resulting burns cover a large area and are mostly superficial, the tissues under the skin are usually unaffected or undamaged.
- Arc Burn: This type of burn is produced when electrical energy passes from a high-resistance area to a low-resistance. In this type of electrical burn, the heat which is produced can be as high as 4,000 °C. This is hot enough to ignite the victim’s body and vaporize metal. This type of blast causes severe injuries and can throw the victim off balance.
- Flame Electrical Burn: This type of electrical burn occurs from coming in contact or touching objects ignited by an electrical source in association with arc and flash burns.
- Oral Electrical Burns: Oral Electrical Burns are suffered mostly by children from sucking or biting on electrical cords. The electrical current usually passes from one side of the mouth to the other side and can result in deformity of the mouth or face.
Preventing Electrical Burns
- Put socket covers on all the unused electric plugs in your home.
- Don’t allow your child to bite, touch or suck on wires.
- Cover or fix wires that are exposed. Replace damaged electric cords.
- Use safety cords, such as ground interrupters or circuit breakers.
- Keep electric machines away from your child’s reach.