What Happens If Struck By Lightning?

In his book The Improbability Principle, researcher and Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at Imperial College, England, Professor David Hand said that the possibility of someone to be struck by lightning is one in 300,000.

Although the likelihood sounds small, but with so many world populations, lightning strikes have been the cause of death of 4000 people every year. The number has been reduced by 90 percent of survivors.

In fact, lightning strikes happen so fast and the amount of electricity that flows on the body is very small. Why lightning strikes can be so dangerous?

This is what happens if we are struck by lightning

Mary Ann Cooper, a retired emergency physician and lightning researcher, told CNN May 25, 2017 that the majority of electricity from lightning strikes flows outside the body in a flashover effect.

Electricity that flows outside the body can react with sweat or raindrops on the skin. "The volume of water expands when it is converted into steam, so even a small amount can cause a steam explosion. This reaction really blew up your clothes, "he said.

Cooper who once wrote a study of lightning injuries about four decades ago said that loss of consciousness is the most commonly found effect in a report of 66 doctors who became his research data. Then, about one third of the victims also experience temporary paralysis in their arms and legs.

Meanwhile, a more dangerous effect is when the flow of electricity stops the heart. Fortunately, Chris Andrews, a physician and lightning researcher at the University of Queensland Australia, said the heart has a natural pacemaker that will reset itself.

Conversely, the biggest problem according to Andrews is when lightning kills the areas of the brain that control breathing. He said that this part of the body can not reset itself so that the oxygen supply of the victim will fall freely and make the heart attack again.

"If a living person says that he has been struck by lightning, most likely their respirator does not die completely," he said.

However, it does not mean that staying alive after a thunderbolt has no consequences whatsoever. 90 percent of survivors experience long-term and short-term effects such as heart attacks, confusion, seizures, deafness, headaches, memory loss, and personality changes.

Analyzing it like a computer disrupted by an electric shock, Cooper said that lightning can also damage the brain in a similar way. "Although the outside looks fine, but the software that controls its function has been damaged," he said.