Burns, Heatstroke & Electrical Shock: First Aid

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  • 0:01 The Spark that Kills
  • 0:28 Electrical Shock First Aid
  • 1:42 First Aid for Burns
  • 2:56 First Aid for Heatstroke
  • 4:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, you're going to learn about the basic first aid procedures you can employ in case you or someone else suffers from an electrical shock, a minor burn, or heatstroke.

The Spark that Kills

Have you ever touched someone and felt a spark? No, not the romantic kind. You know, the electric shock kind of spark? Not as pleasant as the romantic one, is it? Well, that kind of electric shock pales in comparison to the really serious ones that can kill you.

This lesson will offer up some first aid advice if you ever come across an electrical shock victim or anyone suffering from burns or heatstroke.

Electrical Shock First Aid

A serious electrical shock can occur when you come into contact with any source of voltage. The way it manifests itself will be highly variable based upon how high this voltage is. Some electrical shocks leave the victims with burns, like on their hands if they touch a wire. Other electrical shocks will leave absolutely no marks. However, the electrical current that passes through the body will damage internal structures, namely the heart, which can stop beating as a result.

People who have been electrically shocked may have:

  • Burns
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle contractions and/or pain
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness and cardiac, or heart, arrest

If you see someone has been shocked by a source of electricity, DO NOT touch the person if they are still in contact with the source of electricity. If you do, you may become a victim yourself. Call 911 right away, and don't move the person unless they are in life-threatening and immediate danger. If you can, safely turn off the power entirely, or the source of electricity. Or, you can try to move the source of electricity away from you and the victim by using a dry object made of plastic, wood, or cardboard.

First Aid for Burns

Remember I said that electrical shocks can cause a burn? A burn is a tissue injury that's caused by contact with heat, electricity, chemicals, or radiation. You can treat minor burns at home, but major burns should be treated by a medical professional right away so call 911 in those cases!

Let's say that you or someone else accidentally touches a hot stove and suffers from a minor burn. First, carefully but quickly remove any tight items, like jewelry, around the area. You need to do this because the area of the burn will begin to swell, and that'll make it more difficult to remove such items later on. Next, you can place the affected area under cool, but not cold, running water for 10-15 minutes to help minimize the pain and inflammation. Apply moisturizer thereafter, and take an over the counter pain reliever, such as Ibuprofen, if you need one.

If you see small blisters develop, don't break them. If a small blister does break on its own, then you can clean the area with soap and water, apply antibiotic ointment to the area thereafter, and then cover it up with a nonstick bandage. If you have large blisters or you experience anything more than just a bit of redness, swelling, and pain from the burn, then you need to go seek medical help right away.

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