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Electrical Burns

Electrical burns occur when there is contact with electricity, either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).

Caring for an electrical burn:

  • Call or send someone to call 911 for emergency medical assistance. Significant electrical injuries will need medical care.
  • Unplug the appliance or device that has caused the injury or turn off the electrical current.
  • If the child is in contact with the electrical current, do not touch him/her until you turn off the source or the circuit breaker.
  • Determine that the child is still breathing. If the child is not breathing, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Cover the burned area with a sterile gauze bandage or clean bed sheet.
  • Maintain your child's normal body temperature, and take the child to an emergency center.
  • Be aware that a child may experience "shock" after an electrical burn. If your child is showing signs of shock, send someone to call 911 immediately.
  • Do not give your child anything to eat or drink.
  • Place the child on his/her back, unless a neck or back injury is suspected.
  • If the child has vomited or has a serious injury to the face or mouth area, you may place the child on his/her side.
  • Keep your child warm with blankets or extra clothing, but do not use a heat source to warm them.
  • Elevate your child's feet and legs, using a prop or pillow.

What are the symptoms of shock?

The following are the most common symptoms of shock. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of shock may include:

  • Cold sweat
  • Weakness
  • Irregular breathing
  • Chills
  • Pale or blue-colored lips
  • Pale or blue-colored fingernails
  • A fast but weak pulse
  • Nausea

The symptoms may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your child's physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

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