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Burns and Electric Shock - Check Your Symptoms

Call 911 if:

  • A person has been electrocuted, especially if he or she has stopped breathing, has no pulse, or has fainted.
  • You have a third-degree or worse burn. The burned skin may be dry, pale white or charred black, and swollen, or it may have broken open.
  • The burn encircles an arm or leg, or it covers more than one-fourth of any body part.

Call a doctor if:

  • For any electrical burn you can see, even if it looks minor.
  • You have severe pain.
  • You are not sure how serious the burn is.
  • You have a burn worse than a mild sunburn on your face, ears, eyes, hands, feet, genitals, or a joint.
  • Pain from the burn lasts longer than 48 hours.
  • You have signs of infection. These may include increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness; red streaks leading from the burn; pus; and fever.
  • A child younger than 5, an older adult, or a person with a weak immune system or a chronic health problem (such as cancer, heart disease, or diabetes) is burned.
  • There is a chance the burn was caused on purpose.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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