AUSTIN (KXAN) – What happens when you’re struck by lightning? The good news is: lightning strikes are rarely deadly. About 90 percent of people struck survive. According to the Mayo Clinic, survival depends on how direct the strike is. The bad news is: lightning injuries can be severe.
First, the heat can cause serious burns to your body. Lightning is very hot, five times hotter than the sun at around 50 thousand degrees Fahrenheit. Jewelry, watches or even hair barrettes could melt and cause further burns. Sometimes these burns can look like “Lichtenberg” figures or lines. These appear similar to how lightning actually looks. The good news is these are temporary and usually fade.
Then, the thunder clap could blow out your ear drums and the flash of the lightning could damage your eyes. This could lead to temporary deafness and blindness. Additionally, the lightning could cause your heart to go into cardiac arrest. If this happens, you’ll need CPS immediately. Often, respiratory arrest can occur, making it difficult to breathe.
And there are long term effects of the strike. These can include muscles spasms, seizures, cataracts in your eyes or even memory loss.
If there is lightning in your area, take action to avoid it. Cars are safe, because the frame conducts the electricity around you and then to the ground, but you should avoid touching metal while inside the vehicle to prevent being shocked. Your best bet is to seek shelter inside a safe structure.