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How should I help someone who has been struck by lightning?

ANSWER

It is safe to touch the person. The body does not retain an electrical charge.

If the person is not conscious and does not appear to be breathing normally, use an automated external defibrillator (AED), if one is on hand, or:

  • For a child, start CPR for children.
  • For an adult, start adult CPR.
  • Do not remove burned clothing unless necessary.

From: Lightning Strike Treatment WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

CDC: "Electrical Hazards after a Natural Disaster" and "What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out Unexpectedly."

National Weather Service: "Updated AMS Recommendations for Lightning Safety -- 2002."

Cooper, M. , September 1995. Seminars in Neurology

Mistovich, J. , March 2008. EMS World

National Weather Service, Pueblo Colorado: "First Aid for Lightning Strike Victims."

Lightning Strike Information from eMedicineHealth .

Fontanarosa PB . 1993. , February

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: ''Lightning Safety.''

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on September 12, 2019

SOURCES:

CDC: "Electrical Hazards after a Natural Disaster" and "What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out Unexpectedly."

National Weather Service: "Updated AMS Recommendations for Lightning Safety -- 2002."

Cooper, M. , September 1995. Seminars in Neurology

Mistovich, J. , March 2008. EMS World

National Weather Service, Pueblo Colorado: "First Aid for Lightning Strike Victims."

Lightning Strike Information from eMedicineHealth .

Fontanarosa PB . 1993. , February

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: ''Lightning Safety.''

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on September 12, 2019

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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