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How to help a victim of a lightning strike

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ARTICLE SUPPLIED BY

KILIAN, NIENABER & ASSOCIATES

Most Gautengers would agree that the sights, sounds and smells of an afternoon thunderstorm is one of the best things about living on the highveld (when not wreaking havoc, of course).

 

But every year a number of people get struck by lightning. It can burn hotter than the sun, scar your body, and even blow off your clothes. It’s always worth knowing how to avoid getting struck and what to do if someone near you gets hit.

 

Contrary to popular belief, lightning strikes don’t always result in death. In fact, about 90% of people who are struck actually survive. Still, the victims rarely walk away unscathed, and much of the damage can be permanent.

 

If someone is struck by lightning, it is important that they receive medical attention immediately. Some deaths can be prevented if the victim is attended to quickly. Remember, lightning victims do not carry an electrical charge after getting struck and are therefore safe to handle.

 

First, have someone call emergency services or your local ambulance service. Check to see that the victim is breathing and has a pulse, and continue to monitor the victim until help arrives. Cardiac arrest is the immediate cause of death in lightning fatalities. If necessary, begin CPR. Only move the victim to another place if they are still in danger. If you are able, you can assess the victim and treat them for signs of shock, hypothermia, fractures, or burns.

 

How do you avoid the chances of being struck in the first place? Check the weather forecasts ahead of time and stay indoors during a storm. But if you’re stuck outside, avoid isolated trees, poles, and open fields, and run as fast as you can towards safety.

 

You’re best off in a developed building or a hard-topped metal vehicle. Stay calm and remember: “When the Mzansi thunder roars, go indoors!”

 

 


@Health Medical Centre and its tenants do not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by the reader as a result of the information provided. For any health concerns or further information, it is always important to seek advice from your @Health Medical Centre healthcare professional.