Minus/plus icon
ResourcesExplore the full ACKO experience and make the most of your plan

Home / Health Insurance / Articles / First Aid / First Aid Guide: Electrical Burns

First Aid Guide: Electrical Burns

Team AckoJan 17, 2024

Electricity is an essential part of our modern lives, powering everything from our homes to our electronic devices. However, it also poses a risk of accidents, including Electrical Burns (EB). These burns can occur due to various reasons, such as faulty electrical wiring, lightning strikes, and electrical equipment malfunctions. The severity of EB can range from minor to life-threatening, making it essential to understand how to provide first aid for Electrical Burns.




What are Electrical Burns (EB) and how do they occur?

When an electrical current runs through the body, it creates heat, which can cause skin and tissue damage. When a human comes into touch with an electrical source, the current flows through the body in the direction of least resistance. The current may pass through the skin, muscles, bones, and internal organs, producing heat that can cause serious tissue and organ damage. The intensity of the burn is determined by various factors, including the electrical current's strength, the duration of the contact, and the portion of the body that comes into contact with the electrical source.

Signs and symptoms of Electrical Burns

Here are some common symptoms of Electrical Burns. 

  • Pain and a burning feeling in the affected region: EB can produce acute pain and a burning sensation in the affected area, which may indicate nerve and tissue damage.

  • Blisters and open sores on the skin: EB can result in the formation of blisters on the skin, which may be filled with fluid or blood. There may also be open wounds, which increases the risk of infection.

  • Redness and swelling surrounding the burn: These symptoms, which may begin immediately after the injury or develop over time, might be an indicator of inflammation and tissue damage.

  • Numbness or tingling feeling in the affected region: If the electrical current has injured the nerves, this symptom may develop, and it may be followed by a loss of sensation or weakening in the affected area.

  • Muscle contractions or spasms: EB can produce painful muscle contractions or spasms that impede mobility.

Quick action: First aid guide for Electrical Burns

If you or someone close to you receives an electric shock, it is critical to act quickly to minimise harm and seek medical assistance. The following is a first-aid guide for Electrical Burns.

  • Examine the situation. Before approaching the victim, be sure you're not at risk of being shocked. If feasible, turn off the electrical source; if not, relocate the victim away from the source with a non-conductive item.

  • Call an ambulance. EB can cause significant interior problems that are not always evident on the surface. Call for skilled medical assistance at the earliest.

  • Check for respiration and pulse. If the person is not responding, perform CPR

  • Take off any constricting clothes and jewellery. EB can induce swelling, therefore any clothes or jewellery that could limit circulation should be removed.

  • Cool the burn: Run cool (not cold) water over EB for 10-20 minutes. Do not use ice or ointments.

  • Cover the burn: To avoid infection, use a sterile, non-stick dressing to cover the burn.

Ways to prevent Electrical Burns

EB can be avoided by taking care of and adhering to safety requirements. Here are some practical and simple techniques to avoid EB.

  • Turn off the power: After working on electrical equipment or appliances, ensure that the power is turned off at the source. This can help to avoid inadvertent shocks and burns.

  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs): GFCIs are meant to prevent electric shocks and burns by rapidly cutting power when a circuit gets overloaded. Install GFCIs in places where water and electricity might collide, such as restrooms, kitchens, and outdoor spaces.

  • Avoid using moist hands to contact electrical equipment: Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, increasing the danger of electric shock and burns. Always keep your hands dry.

  • Wear protective equipment: When working with electricity, wear insulated gloves and safety eyewear. This reduces the possibility of EB and other accidents.

  • Water alert: Electrical equipment should be kept away from water sources such as sinks, bathtubs, and pools.

  • Don't overload outlets: Overloading outlets can cause overheating, which can lead to electrical fires or shocks. Use power strips with surge protection and limit the number of devices plugged into a single outlet.

  • Inspect electrical cords:  Check electrical cords for fraying, cuts, or damage. If a cord is damaged, replace it immediately. Don't use cords that have exposed wires or loose connections.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some FAQs related to Electric Burns.


Can Electrical Burns cause long-term damage?

Yes, EB can cause long-term damage to the skin, tissues, nerves, and organs. It is important to seek medical attention and follow up with proper care to reduce the risk of complications.

How can I prevent Electrical Burns from happening?

Follow electrical safety guidelines, avoid hazardous situations, and be aware of the potential dangers of electrical sources.

What should I do if someone suffers an Electrical Burn?

Call for emergency medical assistance immediately, assess the severity of the burn, and provide proper first aid care for the affected area.

Can I use ice to treat an Electrical Burn?

No, ice can cause further damage to the burned area. Instead, use cool running water to help relieve pain and reduce swelling.

How do I know if an Electrical Burn is severe?

Severe EBs can cause extensive damage to the skin, tissues, and organs. Signs of a severe burn include difficulty breathing, chest pain, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Should I remove clothing or jewellery from the burned area?

If clothing or jewellery is stuck to the burn, do not remove it. Cutting around the item is preferred to avoid causing further damage. If the clothing or jewellery is not stuck, it can be removed to allow proper first-aid care for the affected area.

Can I apply ointment or cream to an Electrical Burn?

No, ointments or creams can trap heat and worsen the burn. Instead, cover the affected area with a sterile dressing or bandage.

What is the best way to clean an Electrical Burn?

Use cool running water to flush the affected area and remove any debris or foreign objects. Do not use soap, hydrogen peroxide, or any other cleaning agent.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


Want to post any comments?


Affordable Health Insurance for You & Your Family starting @ ₹20/day*

✅ 100% Room Rent Covered* ✅ Zero deductions at claims ✅ 7100+ Cashless Hospitals

quote icon

Check health insurance

quote icon