Electrical burns are a type of injury caused by electric shock or contact with an electrically charged object. They can cause severe tissue damage, nerve damage, and even death. Knowing the different categories of electrical burns can help you understand the risks associated with electricity and how to prevent them.
Types of Electrical Burns
Electrical burns are typically divided into four categories: contact, flash, arc, and lightning. Contact burns occur when an electric current passes through the body, causing intense pain and tissue damage. Flash burns occur when an electrical current passes through the air, generating a bright light that can cause serious eye damage. Arc burns are caused by an electric arc between two objects, which can cause a severe burn on the skin. Finally, lightning burns are caused by direct contact with a lightning strike, which can cause intense pain, severe tissue damage, and even death.
Exclusions to Electrical Burns
In addition to these four categories of electrical burns, there are also some exclusions. Electrical shocks that do not cause physical harm are not considered an electrical burn. In addition, electrical shocks caused by static electricity, such as those experienced when touching a door handle, are also excluded. Finally, electric shocks caused by low-voltage electrical appliances, such as those used in homes, are also excluded.
Electricity can be a dangerous force, and understanding the different types of electrical burns can help you protect yourself from serious injury or death. Knowing the different categories of electrical burns, as well as the exclusions, can help you determine when an electric shock is dangerous and when it is not.
When working with electricity, the risk of injury is ever present. Certain precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of all involved, but even with extensive training and delivery of the highest standards of safety procedures, accidental electrical burns may still occur. The American Burn Association divides all electrical injuries into four categories based on the depth of the burn.
First-degree, or superficial, burns are characterized by pain, redness and swelling in the affected area. Second-degree burns occur when the skin and part of the underlying fat and muscle are damaged, while third-degree burns go even further and damage the full thickness of the skin and underlying tissues, resulting in a charred, leathery appearance. Fourth-degree burns, the most severe classification, result in complete burn-through of all tissue and can even reach bones, tendons, and joints.
When mentioning these four categories of electrical burns, there is one that was omitted: fifth-degree burns. A fifth-degree burn is not a category of electrical burns, but rather a physical burn of bodily material due to high level of electrical current that of such intensity as to cause vaporization of the material, resulting in a hole.
Therefore, when talking about the categories of electrical burns, it is important to recall that there are four degrees of electrical burns which are classified as first-, second-, third-, and fourth-degree, and the omitted classification, fifth-degree burns, does not refer to an electrical burn. Adhering to the highest standards of safety procedures and taking all necessary precautions can help protect against electrical injuries, and it is important to be aware of the categories of electrical burns and their corresponding characteristics.