Lightning Injuries and Effects

By: Candice Sorensen Email
By: Candice Sorensen Email

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TOPEKA KS
1020 AM CDT FRI JUN 29 2007

...LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK JUNE 24-30, 2007...

LIGHTNING HAS BEEN THE SECOND LARGEST STORM KILLER IN THE UNITED STATES FOR THE LAST 40 YEARS...EXCEEDED ONLY BY FLOODS. A LIGHTNING STRIKE CAN RESULT IN CARDIAC ARREST AT THE TIME OF INJURY...ALTHOUGH SOME VICTIMS MAY APPEAR TO HAVE A DELAYED DEATH A FEW DAYS LATER IF THEY ARE RESUSCITATED BUT HAVE SUFFERED IRREVERSIBLE BRAIN DAMAGE.

THE UNITED STATES AVERAGES 66 LIGHTNING FATALITIES PER YEAR. HOWEVER...DUE TO UNDER REPORTING...THE FIGURES ARE MORE LIKELY AROUND 100 DEATHS PER YEAR. ONLY ABOUT 10% OF PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING ARE KILLED...LEAVING 90% WITH VARIOUS DEGREES OF DISABILITY.

WHILE AROUND ONE THIRD OF ALL INJURIES OCCUR DURING WORK...WORKERS COMPENSATION COMPANIES ARE OFTEN RELUCTANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE INJURY OR PAY RELATED MEDICAL EXPENSES. ABOUT ANOTHER THIRD OF INJURIES OCCUR DURING RECREATIONAL OR SPORTS ACTIVITIES. THE LAST THIRD
OCCURS IN DIVERSE SITUATIONS...INCLUDING INJURIES TO THOSE INSIDE BUILDINGS.

LIGHTNING TENDS TO BE A NERVOUS SYSTEM INJURY AND MAY AFFECT THE BRAIN...AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM AND THE PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM. WHEN THE BRAIN IS AFFECTED...THE PERSON OFTEN HAS DIFFICULTY WITH SHORT TERM MEMORY...CODING NEW INFORMATION AND ACCESSING OLD INFORMATION...MULTITASKING...DISTRACTIBILITY...IRRITABILITY AND
PERSONALITY CHANGE.

SURVIVORS MAY COMPLAIN OF INTENSE HEADACHES...RINGING IN THE EARS...DIZZINESS..NAUSEA...VOMITING AND OTHER POST-CONCUSSION TYPES OF SYMPTOMS. SURVIVORS MAY ALSO EXPERIENCE DIFFICULTY SLEEPING... SOMETIMES SLEEPING EXCESSIVELY AT FIRST AND THEN ONLY TWO OR THREE HOURS AT A TIME. MANY LIGHTNING VICTIMS MAY SUFFER PERSONALITY
CHANGES BECAUSE OF FRONTAL LOBE DAMAGE AND BECOME QUITE IRRITABLE AND EASY TO ANGER. DEPRESSION AND ISOLATION MAY RESULT FROM THESE PERSONALITY CHANGES.

ANOTHER COMMON...BUT OFTEN DELAYED PROBLEM...FOR SOME SURVIVORS IS PAIN. THE PAIN MAY NOT BE FROM INTENSE HEADACHES...BUT MAY BE IN THE BACK. THE PAIN MAY BE DIFFICULT TO QUANTIFY AND MANAGE.

THE GOAL OF LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK IS TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF LIGHTNING DEATHS AND PREVENT LIGHTNING INJURIES IN THE UNITED STATES. WITH MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LIGHTNING AND THE ASSOCIATED RISKS...YOU WILL BE ABLE TO LOWER YOUR RISK OF BECOMING A LIGHTNING STRIKE VICTIM.

PLEASE SEE THE LIGHTNING STRIKE AND ELECTRIC SHOCK SURVIVORS INTERNATIONAL WEBPAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION:
WWW.LIGHTNING-STRIKE.ORG/ (ALL LOWER CASE LETTERS)


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