Signs & Symptoms of Electrocution

Knowing the signs and symptoms of electrocution can mean the difference between of life and death. People can be electrocuted by numerous things such as a bare electrical wire or, in the rare event, lightning. By learning the signs and symptoms, you will know what to do in an emergency.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of electrocution is important in seeking appropriate medical treatment.


When someone is electrocuted, the person might feel paresthesia, which is a tingling, prickling, numbing or sometimes a burning sensation. Paresthesia can be short-term depending on the extent of the electrocution. Depending on the exposure to the electricity, nerves could also have been damaged. After a while, the tingling should discontinue on its own.

Blisters and Wounds

Electric shock can cause blisters, burns and wounds. When someone sustains a blister or multiple blisters, fluid will form under the skin in the area where he or she was electrocuted. Treat blisters by cleaning the infected area with warm water and soap and placing topical antibacterial ointment and bandages securely on the area. To treat the burns, clean the area well and bandage with burn ointment.

Altered Mental State

Electrocution might render a person incapable of his or her normal mental function. The person might be slow to think or talk. He or she might also be delirious, dizzy or faint. Seek medical help.

Respiratory Arrest

Symptoms of respiratory arrest can also arise from electrocution. Someone having respiratory arrest might look like he or she is having an asthma attack. Look for trouble or cessation of breathing. Contact emergency medical help immediately.


When electrocuted, the person might also have seizures. Signs of seizures include locked muscles and a shaking, trembling body. A person suffering from a seizure can bite his or her tongue or foam at the mouth. Clear the person's airway. Make sure he or she can breathe. Put the person on his or her side to prevent choking in case of vomiting.

Change in Skin Color

If the person suffered from electrocution, his or her skin might be white or pale. The mucus membrane of person with a darker complexion will appear blue. You can also check for skin color changes beneath the eyelids or fingernails.