Believe it or not there are many people injured or killed by lightning strikes all over the world on an annual basis. Knowing what to do in such a situation can help save your life. This type of first aid is not generally covered in a one or two-day first aid course, but if thunder and lightning storms are common in your area, it would be in your own best interests to find out exactly first aid procedures you should follow.
The first step in first aid for lightning strikes is to learn to recognize the signs that lightning may be possible. Most people think that the threat of lightning no longer exists when the storm passes through, but this is not the case. Lightning can linger in an area up to a half hour following a storm and strikes are still possible during this time. Whenever you hear thunder there is lightning in the area and it may not always be visible, especially during the daylight hours.
One of the best methods of first aid is to seek immediate shelter, which should not be beneath the branches of a tree. Lightning hits trees on a frequent basis causing the tree to tumble down on top of you. Branches could also break off and you can be injured in this way, but in both of these cases, the injury is not from the lightning itself.
In a lightning strike, the electrical currents hit the body. It is very dangerous indeed if this current hits the chest area because this brings it in direct contact with the heart. This can cause the heart to stop beating or cardiopulmonary arrest. In this case the first aid to use is CPR to revive the victim by restarting the heart beat.
In the event that you are outdoors during a lightning strike, one of the things you should never do is place you hands on the ground. It is best to squat with your feet on the ground and your knees bent. In this way your knees protect your chest from receiving a direct hit. It will also decrease the possibility of lightning travelling throughout the whole body.
When a person that has been hit with lightning and is still talking or moving about, there is still a need for first aid. You can administer first aid immediately to determine if there are any cuts or burns. This person does not carry an electric charge and therefore does not present any threat to the person administering the first aid.
Burns are one of the common effects of a lightning strike. Wearing certain kinds of jewelry can also cause a burn in this situation as well or the clothing may ignite. It is not uncommon to receive first and second degree burns due to lightning. They should be treated in the same manner as any other types of burns. If the victim is wet from the rain, the first step is to make sure the victim is dry. Cover the victim with a blanket and place a piece of gauze over the burned areas. You do have to keep a close check on the victim until emergency help arises to make sure that there are no signs of shock or hypothermia.