What Happens When You Are Struck by Lightning

Many may wonder what exactly happens to your body when getting struck by lightning. Do you immediately face death or is it possible to survive? If you do survive, does it have a temporal effect, or does it affect you permanently? These are all captivating questions we will try to answer in this article; some information will amaze you.


To answer the first question, lightning strikes aren’t always a death sentence. Statistics show that around 90% of people in the US who are struck, survive. Nonetheless, the victims infrequently find themselves unharmed, and many times the damage can be permanent. It is frightening to imagine what the same lightning that triggers 75,000 forest fires in the US each year and can split trees in the middle in over a second, can do inside your body. While it may not be an assured death, still, everyone needs to be extremely cautious when going out on a thunderstorm to avoid certain risks.


For starters, check the weather forecast ahead of time to make sure you’re not going to get a bright surprise in the middle of your journey. It is preferable to stay indoors, but if you’re stuck outdoors try to find shelter right away while avoiding isolated trees, poles, and open fields. The safest locations are either in a developed building or a hard-topped metal vehicle.


Getting struck by lightning can affect you in different ways. When it happens, it can burn hotter than the sun, leave scars throughout your body, and surprisingly, even blow your clothes off! This is the best-case scenario, seeing as about 47 Americans die per year due to this.

It’s hard to comprehend how exactly encountering lightning is like, given it isn’t a common occurrence. Let’s start by explaining the two main problems that come when getting struck. Firstly, the fact that lightning is unbelievably hot. If you are wearing any metal, the blistering heat can cause third-degree burns and, if you’re sweaty or have rainwater, it can vaporize it completely in a matter of seconds. The second problem is the large amount of electricity carried by lightning. This amount ranges between 1 to 10 billion joules of energy, an overwhelmingly large quantity for a human body. When it enters your body, it short-circuits the small electrical signals that oversee your heart, lungs, and nervous system, leading to cardiac arrest, seizures, brain injury, spinal cord damage, and amnesia. The combination of these factors and the light radiated by the lightning is so powerful that it can bore holes in your retina and cause cataracts. Furthermore, feathering marks called Lichtenberg Figures can appear either on your neck, chest, back, shoulders or arms. These are formed by the transmission of static energy along the superficial blood vessels into your epidermis and will deliver discomfort for a few months.


To conclude, getting struck by lightning can affect you in different degrees depending on many factors, leaving very little chance that you will walk away unharmed. To avoid this, stay indoors when a thunderstorm is approaching and stay clear of the previously mentioned dangerous locations. And finally, never forget that when lightning strikes, blame it on the furious gods above!

Featured Image: https://www.sciencemag.org/sites/default/files/styles/inline__450w__no_aspect/public/lightning_1280p.jpg?itok=E3srsF5v

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