Electrical burns occur when a person is directly exposed to an electrical current. Although some electrical burns look minor on the skin, they can cause extensive internal damage, especially to the heart, muscles, or brain. This is a potentially serious condition that requires care from a doctor.
Classification of Skin Burns
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Electrical burns result from accidental contact with exposed parts of electrical appliances or wiring, such as:
- Children biting on electrical cords
- Poking utensils or other metal objects into electrical outlets or appliances, like a plugged-in toaster
- Failing to shut the power supply before making home repairs or installation
- Dropping a plugged-in appliance into water
- Occupational accidents due to, for example, electric arcs from high-voltage power lines. (Electric arcs occur when a burst of electricity jumps from one electrical conductor to another, such as flashes of electricity from the wheels of an electrically powered train or where a trolley car connects to an overhead power line.)
Last reviewedOctober 2012by Peter Lucas, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.