Electrical burns can be obtained from the serious accidents to the most mundane instances. Despite that, one fact remains the same – it can be extremely painful, traumatic, and can possibly alter the lifestyle greatly. The effects depend on the degree of the injury. The effect can simply be minor skin damage if it were a brief injury with low electric voltage. Under graver circumstances, the electric current can travel to internal organs and damage them. This can eventually lead to death.
There are several ways of contracting electrical burns. Flames that are ignited by electrical problems will cause electrical burns when the flames come in contact with the body. Even contact with a mere electrical arc can cause electrical burns. These types of burns are called flash burns. A flash burn is usually not a burn of high degree, although it can affect vast areas of the skin. There are also electrical arcs that can inflict deep thermal burns. The worst of all burns is the direct contact burns. These electric burns are caused by the electrical energy that penetrates the tissue of the body.
Electrical burns can bring cardiac and respiratory problems because if it affect’s the person’s chest directly, there’s a risk of having the lungs electrocuted. Also, the rhythm of the heart will be affected in the process. Of course, the most evident effects of electric burns are the manifestations on the skin.
First-degree burns damage only the outer epidermal layer and usually just cause a painful inflammatory response. The electric burns are usually red and dry, without the presence of blisters. A first-layer burn is just superficial because there are still layers of skin cells left that can multiply. Second-degree burns penetrate the epidermis but will still heal without leaving a deep scar. The healing period usually spans 2-4 weeks and noticeable fluid loss and shock may occur. These symptoms are manageable, provided that proper care is administered. The third-degree electrical burn on the other hand is the worst and most feared of all because no skin cells are left for healing and regeneration. The skin becomes denatured and hard. The only choice for treatment is skin grafting.
The usual long-term effect of an electrical burn involves the nervous system. If the spinal cord is hit by the burn, this will open a window of severe complications. It will lead to seizures and amnesia. If the spinal cord is left untreated, the person will suffer from permanent paralysis. Or, the movements will be limited.
Another complicated problem associated with burns is infection. Since burn victims are sensitive to touch, it’s difficult to disinfect the wounds and burns. It’s also hard to determine if a burn is an infection or simply a manifestation of one because both are red and warm. If there is an infection left untreated, it can severely damage internal organs that will cause death or permanent damage.
That’s why it’s important for electrical burns to be attended to as soon as possible. Only proper medical treatment can address the burns and minimize the tragic impact.