ZocdocAnswersDoes a brief electric shock have any long term affects?

Question

Does a brief electric shock have any long term affects?

I don't know what happened, but I was plugging my hair dryer in the other day and got a pretty big shock from the outlet. Pain went all the way up to my shoulder, but it went away fast. Could this have long term affects on my arm or my nerves or anything?

Answer

Electrical shocks can cause damage to the body. Most of the time, this is because, if the shock is serious enough, they can cause the heart to stop and it may not restart spontaneously, leading to death. Fortunately this did not happen to you! Most of the dangerous effects of a shock occur immediately. Therefore, If you are now symptom free and feeling fine, then the shock is unlikely to have caused any permanent damage and you should be ok! However, you need to think about why you got a shock from the electrical outlet and do something to prevent it from happening again. For example, make sure your hair dryer is in good working order, especially the cord, as cracked or damaged appliance cords are a very common cause of electrical shocks. Similarly, make sure that the electrical outlet is ok and properly grounded. Finally make sure that you are not using the hair dryer around any water, as this could raise the risk of shock. If you need help figuring out what is going on, you may need to consult with an electrician to make sure everything is in working order. Please talk to your primary care doctor for more information about how this might have affected you!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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