Have you ever wondered what happens to you when you get struck by lightning? The fact of the matter is that when it comes to conducting three hundred thousand volts of electricity, the human body just is not built for it. So when things go wrong as you go for a dip in the pool during a rainstorm, you might find yourself during a rendition of what you thought only existed in the movies.
Basically, when lightning strikes, you really don’t want to be in the vicinity. The electric field is so extreme that the cloud’s negative electrons repel ground electrons. These get pushed into the strata far enough that the planet’s surfaces becomes charged positively. When this happens, molecules in the air around the cloud become ionized. This then discharges an electric field back to earth, neutralizing the difference in charge. This is what is referred to as lightning.
Being composed of atoms transmitting electrons is great for the basic function of the brain network. However, this is also what makes human beings great conductors of electricity. This is also why it is not a good idea to use a hair dryer near the bathtub or go swimming in a thunderstorm.
Strikes of Lightning
However, strikes of lightning are different from the industrial shocks you receive from equipment with high voltage. First, the voltage levels in lightning are greater. Most shocks that are industrial generate between twenty to sixty thousand volts. However, a lightning bolt reaches three hundred thousand volts. Also, a lightning strike’s duration is brief. On average, normal household electric shocks last about a half second. On the other hand, a strike of lightning lasts three milliseconds. Lastly, home or work electric injuries tend to hit a worker’s shoulders, arms and hands. In contrast, lightning often strikes the upper torso, shoulders and the head.
Heat and Electricity
Lightning strikes also involve about fifty thousand degrees Fahrenheit, aside from the bolt itself. The heat itself creates burn marks shaped like bolts called figures of Lichtenberg. These are caused by blood vessels that burst. The force and heat can shred and singe clothes. As a matter of fact, a strike of lightning has been known to blow people out of their own shoes. Aside from getting burned, a strike of lightning acts like fibrillators, causing cardiac arrest as it upsets the rhythm of the heart.
Immediately after you get hit by lightning, there is pulmonary edema in the circulatory system, myocardial damages and cardiac arrhythmia. You may lose consciousness neurologically whether this lasts for a few years or from a few minutes. There may be amnesia or short term memory loss if you suffer brain damage. Longer term maladies that are neurological include learning disabilities and changes in the personality. This includes Parkinsonian disease, which is Parkinson’s with a twitch, seizures and sleep disorders. Victims also usually report permanent or temporary paralysis, weakness or numbness in the limbs, a lot of pain, cataracts, blown ear drums and concussions.