GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Did you know that statistically speaking you are more likely to be struck by lightning than win the lottery? This week let’s discuss what really happens when lightning runs through the human body.
There are actually five different ways to be struck by lightning.
First, there is a direct hit, which occurs while standing in an open field. A strong current of charges from the lightning strike starts from the storm, cuts through the air and then through the body as it hits the surface.
A side splash lightning strike is an indirect hit. Lightning first cuts through a tree and then hits a person. Ground currents first strike a tree and then run through the ground and up through the human body.
A person can also be struck through conduction along fences. Lightning streamers, which essentially are just secondary stands of electricity, also can strike a person.
Lightning travels through the body both internally and externally. The most impacted parts of the body include sight and hearing, organs and skin, muscle, and body tissue, as well as the nervous system. Once a person is struck by lightning, muscles contract, forcing the victim to jolt or jump with muscular seizures likely.
Skin burns are also seen with the electric current flowing through the body and breaking blood vessels in streams. Motor damage within the nervous system and deep tissue damage occur with the heart being the most impacted organ within the body.
Many people go into cardiac arrest when they get struck by lightning.
All these direct impacts do not include the lasting damage also possible. If a victim does survive the strike, it’s still possible to deal with lingering impacts such as deep tissue destruction, loss of movement within limbs, and hearing or sight can also be completely lost.