What Happens When You get an Electric Shock

An electric shock can occur upon contact of a human or animal body with any source of voltage high enough to cause sufficient current flow through the muscles or nerves. The minimum detectable current in humans is thought to be about 1 mA. The current may cause tissue damage or heart fibrillation if it is sufficiently high. When (and only when) an electric shock is fatal, it is called electrocution.An electric shock is usually painful and can be lethal. The level of voltage is not a direct guide to the level of injury or danger of death, despite the common misconception that it is. A small shock from static electricity may contain thousands of volts but has very little current behind it due to high internal resistance. Physiological effects and damage are generally determined by current and duration. Even a low voltage causing a current of extended duration can be fatal. Ohm's Law directly correlates voltage and current for a given resistance; thus, for a particular path through the body under a particular set of conditions, a higher voltage will produce a higher current flow.

Shock effects:-
The perception of electric shock can be different depending on the voltage, duration, current, path taken, frequency, etc. Current entering the hand has a threshold of perception of about 5 to 10 milliamperes (mA) for DC and about 1 to 10 mA for AC at 60 Hz. Shock perception declines with increasing frequency, ultimately disappearing at frequencies above 15-20 kHz.


Burns:- Tissue heating due to resistance can cause extensive and deep burns. High-voltage (> 500 to 1000 V) shocks tend to cause internal burns due to the large energy (which is proportional to the square of the voltage) available from the source. Damage due to current is through tissue heating.

Ventricular fibrillation:- A low-voltage (110 to 220 V), 60-Hz AC current traveling through the chest for a fraction of a second may induce ventricular fibrillation at currents as low as 60mA. With DC, 300 to 500 mA is required. If the current has a direct pathway to the heart (e.g., via a cardiac catheter or other electrodes), a much lower current of less than 1 mA, (AC or DC) can cause fibrillation. Fibrillations are usually lethal because all the heart muscle cells move independently. Above 200mA, muscle contractions are so strong that the heart muscles cannot move at all.

Neurological effects:- Current can cause interference with nervous control, especially over the heart and lungs. When the current path is through the head, it appears that, with sufficient current, loss of consciousness almost always occurs swiftly. (This is borne out by some limited self-experimentation by early designers of the electric chair. and by research from the field of animal husbandry, where electric stunning has been extensively studied)

Point of Entry:-

Macroshock Current flowing across intact skin and through the body. Current traveling from arm to arm, or between an arm and a foot, is likely to traverse the heart, and so is much more dangerous than current traveling between a leg and the ground.

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