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First Aid & Emergencies

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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.

    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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