Loss of consciousness was common. About one-third experienced at least some temporary paralysis in their arms or legs. Those rates might be on the high side. Cooper points out that not all lightning patients are sufficiently injured that doctors write about their cases. But survivors do often describe temporary paralysis, like Justin suffered, or a loss of consciousness, although why it occurs is not clear.
Chris Andrews, an associate professor in medicine and a lightning researcher at the University of Queensland. Thankfully, though, the heart possesses a natural pacemaker. Frequently, it can reset itself. The problem is that lightning can also knock out the region of the brain that controls breathing. The risk is that the heart will succumb to a second and potentially deadly arrest, Andrews says.
He showed that as lightning flashes over, the electrical current enters critical portals into the body: the eyes, the ears, the mouth. This explains why survivors frequently report damage to the eyes and ears. They might develop cataracts. Or their hearing can be permanently damaged. Particularly worrisome is that, by penetrating the ears, lightning can rapidly reach the brain region that controls breathing, Andrews says.
Upon entering the body, the electricity can hitch a ride elsewhere, through the blood or the fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. Once it reaches the bloodstream, Andrews says, the passage to the heart is very quick.
Back in Arizona, Jaime Santana survived the immediate lightning strike. The main reason he survived is that, not only did his horse absorb much of the lightning, but because when he was struck, the neighbour who came running immediately started CPR and continued until the paramedics arrived.
Don't miss these other weird facts about lightning strikes. It steps, almost stair-like, in a rapid-fire series of roughly metre increments.
It's especially bad for livestock. Brain injuries are the more common injury — rather than burns — from lightning strikes. Lightning strikes can create enduring lifelong discomfort because they cause nerve damage that makes the nerves misfire, which the brain reads as pain. Even though strikes are up this year, the number is much less than in the s when to people died annually. So a corded phone, when people held it right up to their head, was a direct connection with wires outside.
The NWS puts your odds of being struck if you live in the U. Lightning is not something to toy with. There are several precautions you can take to guarantee your safety in a storm. Lightning strikes the liberation tower in Kuwait City during a thunderstorm on April 5, Direct strike : A cloud-to-ground lightning strike hits you or something you're holding, like a golf club, dead-on instead of reaching the ground. Side flash : Lightning strikes something close to where you are standing and then jumps from that to you.
Contact potential : While you're touching something, like a fence post or a tree, lighting strikes that object and the current travels from the object through the point of contact into your body. Step voltage : You're sitting with your feet together in front of you, knees up and rump settled on the ground near a spot where a cloud-to-ground lightning strike hits.
As the lighting current disperses, it travels through your body by entering one point, say your joined feet, and exiting another, your rear end. Surge voltage : While you're using some type of electrical appliance or a telephone , lighting strikes the source of power or network connected to the device and you receive a shock.
If you have placed your tent on high ground or under a tree, you are at an even higher risk for suffering exposure to ground current or sideflash from lightning strikes. You are also at risk for lightning strikes directly to your tent. All of these occurrences are life-threatening. Review these lightning safety options if you are planning to tent in the backcountry:.
In one reported case of a tenter involved in a lightning strike, a man was struck and killed while in his tent when lightning occurred.
The man, an enlisted soldier home between his tours in Iraq, went with three other friends to enjoy a weekend of camping in the backcountry. Lightning struck while the four men were inside their tent. He was killed instantly, and all cell phones were disabled by the strike. About five hundred Floridians are killed in alcohol-related auto fatalities each year. So, is it safe to be inside a vehicle that is struck by lightning?
Although scary, and although the possibility for injury does exist, being inside a vehicle is a lot safer than being out in the open in a lightning storm.
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.Are You Lightning? Lyrics: And so we meet and there are sparks / Its gold it's new and free from sharks / Your house is big it seems so clean / Your cleaning lady comes and we're discreet / Are.