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People come into contact with live electric wires and get a shock. If the voltage is very high and the person is unable to pull himself away, death inevitably results. The local effects of electric shock includes spasmodic contraction of the muscles, fracture of the bones and in severe cases, widespread destruction of tissues which may include necrosis of masses of muscles and internal organs. Fright due to the unexpectedness of the shock and the pain due to sudden cramp of the muscles are the commonest symptoms. If the person is unable to pull himself away from the source of the electric current passing through his body, there may be concussion or even compression of the brain. Death may result from stoppage of the heart or respiratory failure.

Amperage of the current is more important than the voltage and the alternating current (AC) is more deadly than the direct current (DC). Water and metal being good conductors of electricity, touching a live wire with wet hands or a piece of metal will give an immense shock. The first necessity in regard to a person through whose body a powerful electric current is passing is to break the current. This can, sometimes, be done by turning off the switch. If the victim is grasping or is in contact with a live wire, the contact may be broken only by someone wearing rubber gloves or rubber boots, but as these are not readily available, his hands should be protected by a thick wrapping of dry cloth, or the live wire may be hooked or pushed out of the way with a long wooden stick.

If the injured person is unconscious and especially if the breathing has stopped, artificial respiration should be applied as described under drowning. When the patient begins to breathe again, he must be treated for shock. He should be put to bed and given hot water bottles and hot drinks.


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