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BURNS :: Emergency Treatment of a Burn Injury

Electrical Burns

Electrical burns occur when there is contact with an electricity, either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).

Caring for an electrical burn:

  • Call or send someone to call 911 for emergency medical assistance. Significant electrical injuries will need medical care.
  • Unplug the appliance or device that has caused the injury or turn off the electrical current.
  • If the child is in contact with the electrical current do not touch them until you turn off the source or the circuit breaker.
  • Determine that the child is still breathing. If the child is not breathing, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Cover the burned area with a sterile gauze bandage or clean bed sheet.
  • Maintain your child's normal body temperature, and take the child to an emergency center.
  • Be aware that a child may experience "shock" after an electrical burn. If your child is showing signs of shock, send someone to call 911 immediately.
  • Do not give your child anything to eat or drink.
  • Place the child on his/her back, unless a neck or back injury is suspected.
  • If the child has vomited or has a serious injury to the face or mouth area, you may lay the child on his/her side.
  • Keep your child warm with blankets or extra clothing, but do not use a heat source to warm them.
  • Elevate your child's feet and legs, using a prop or pillow.

What are the symptoms of shock?

The following are the most common symptoms of shock. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of shock may include:

  • cold sweat
  • weakness
  • irregular breathing
  • chills
  • pale or blue-colored lips
  • pale or blue-colored fingernails
  • a fast, but weak pulse
  • nausea

The symptoms may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your child's physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment.

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.
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