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Electric shock and burn treatments

2-minute read


Treatment of electric shock and burns can only start after it is established that it is safe to approach the person who received the electric shock. See our page on electric shocks and burns for information on this. Check if the person is conscious and breathing. Gently touch and talk to the person. If there is no response, get help by calling triple zero (000) and start CPR.

Even if they are conscious and breathing, you should call triple zero (000) for an ambulance if the person:

  • lost consciousness, even for a second
  • is breathing very fast or very slow
  • has a heartbeat which is very fast, or very slow, or irregular.

If you do not call an ambulance, you should still visit the nearest emergency department or see your doctor as soon as possible.

First Aid

Electrical burns can be more serious than they seem, so they should be assessed in an emergency department. Sometimes an electrical injury can cause damage to internal tissues.

In the meantime treat electrical burns as you would other burns:

  • put the burnt area under running water for at least 20 minutes
  • take simple painkillers like paracetamol
  • leave any blisters alone
  • do not apply anything to the burn, such as ointment, cream, oil, butter, spray, or any other household remedy (except cold water)
  • Cover the burnt areas with a sterile gauze bandage, if available, or a clean cloth. Don't use a blanket or towel, because loose fibers can stick to the burns.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about your electric shocked or electric burn, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: August 2017

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