Can we die from static electric shock

Everyday question: How dangerous are small electric shocks in everyday life?

Unsuspecting, you shake someone's hand or touch a door handle and you get an electric shock. Dangerous or just uncomfortable? How light electric shocks occur and what you can do about it.

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In many everyday situations, electrical voltage builds up in the body, which is suddenly discharged when touching grounded objects or people.

There is a slight electric shock or as experts call the phenomenon: an electrostatic discharge, in English Electrostatic Discharge (ESD).

How do electrical charges arise in the body?

Such light electric shocks, which are generally not dangerous, can be easily achieved.

Every object has electrically charged particles. There are negative charges (electrons) and positive charges (protons). A neutral body has the same number of electrons and protons - the charges balance each other out.

If the charge is not balanced because, for example, electrons are exchanged due to friction between two objects, which cannot flow away again through grounding, an electric shock can occur if a conductive object such as metal or skin is touched later. Even small sparks can be released.

This often happens to people when they wear shoes with an insulating plastic sole that prevents grounding. Even dry air cannot conduct electricity and thus possibly prevents the decomposition of charged particles.

Therefore, the risk of light electric shocks increases, especially in winter when the heating air is dry. The more moisture there is in the air, the better it conducts - and the better the balance of charges works.

Electrostatic Discharge: Are They Dangerous?

The discharge is perceived by humans from a voltage of 3,500 volts. However, charging the body can even generate around 30,000 volts.

Sounds dangerous, but those affected do not suffer any damage to their health. The impulse only lasts for a fraction of a second. The muscles in the body just contract and the area where the discharge occurs tingles or hurts a little.

There are no serious consequences in the area of ​​the heart and lung muscles. These would only occur if there was an electrical contact lasting more than three seconds.

The decisive factor for how dangerous an electric shock is for humans is the combination of voltage and amperage. In the case of electrostatic discharges, the latter is too low to cause problems.

The shock when you get "wiped" is often still great. This is where the real danger of ESD lies: Accidents can occur, especially if you handle risky objects or operate machines that are not adequately secured.

If the elevator gets stuck, there are a few things to consider. But how do you behave properly in this situation?

Are electric shocks dangerous with pacemakers?

For physically healthy people, the small everyday electric shocks are not excessively dangerous. But what about patients with a pacemaker?

Although pacemakers are prone to failure, warnings apply above all to certain electronic devices such as cell phones, razors and drills. It is best to keep them at least 8 inches away from the heart.

The vital pacemakers are designed in such a way that they can withstand a light electric shock or other disturbances.

How the individual devices react in the event of a discharge depends on the models used. Demand pacemakers (code character "I") are used in patients with residual intrinsic functions of the heart.

They only emit stimulation impulses when your own heartbeat does not stop for longer than a specified interval. An interference signal has the effect that the delivery of the stimulation pulses is suppressed.

After the end of the disturbance situation, the pacemaker automatically returns to its original operating state. It can only become dangerous if the person is not active for a long time and the interference is also acutely present. There is a drop in blood pressure and dizziness.

Difference in fixed-frequency pacemakers "0"

Fixed-rate cardiac pacemakers (code "0") do not measure cardiac activity. They stimulate with a fixed heart rate and are therefore insensitive to interference.

With triggered pacemakers, however, there is a certain risk. They use an electrode to measure the activity of the heart muscle, for example in the atrium, and use this signal as a trigger for the correspondingly delayed delivery of a stimulation pulse.

Noise signals can be a constant request for stimulation. However, the stimulation rate is only increased until the limit set in the pacemaker is reached. Nevertheless, symptoms such as strong palpitations can become noticeable.

Protection against light electric shock: what to do?

Even if the electric shocks aren't dangerous, most people prefer to avoid them. Instead, you should avoid synthetic materials in your clothing, as these are particularly easy to charge.

Natural fibers such as cotton are more recommended. Shoes shouldn't have rubber soles, but leather soles. When getting out of the car, it helps to put one hand on the sheet metal of the vehicle until the feet touch the ground.

Or you can touch the body with the car key in your hand. The spark then hits the key and not the finger. Humidifiers and houseplants help to increase the humidity and can thus protect against electric shock.

Also read:If you leave the house while the washing machine or dishwasher is running, you may be acting negligently

Note: This is an article from our archive that we have updated.

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