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Facts About Electriculation

The severity and effects of an electrical shock depend on a number of factors, such as the pathway through the body, the amount of current, the length of time of the exposure, and whether the skin is wet or dry. Through wet skin or wet surface condition current flows more easily.

The effect of shock may range from a slight tingle to severe burns to cardiac arrest.

The chart below shows the general relationship between the degree of injury and amount of current for a 60-cycle, hand-to-foot path of one second’s duration of shock. While reading this chart, keep in mind that most electrical circuits can provide, under normal conditions, up to 20,000 miliamperes of current flow.

Current level (Milliamperes) Probable Effect on Human Body
1 mA Perception level. Slight tingling sensation. Still dangerous under wet conditions
5mA Slight shock felt; not painful but disturbing.
6mA - 16mA Painful shock, begin to lose muscular control. "let-go" range.
17mA - 99mA Extreme pain, respiratory arrest, severe muscular contractions. Individual cannot let go.
100mA - 2000mA Ventricular fibrillation (uneven, uncoordinated pumping of the heart.)
> 2,000mA Cardiac arrest, internal organ damage, and severe burns. Death is probable.

Wet conditions are common during low-voltage electrocutions. Under dry conditions, human skin is very resistant. Wet skin dramatically drops the body's resistance.

High voltage electrical energy greatly reduces the body's resistance by quickly breaking down human skin. Once the skin is punctured, the lowered resistance results in massive current flow.

The following fig shows occurrence of the vulnerable period of ventricles during the cardiac cycle.