A PERSON IS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING
The most serious injuries from a lightning strike are brain and nerve damage and cardiac arrest. About 90 percent of people who are struck survive, but it may take some fast actions to save their lives. If you see someone get struck by lightning, the Centers for Disease Control recommend taking these actions immediately:
1. Call 911. Give the operator as much information as possible about where you are and how responders can reach you. Your cell phone is a safer choice than a corded phone.
2. Assess the situation. You don’t want to risk your own life if the victim is in a dangerous area, such as near a tall tree or in an open field—lightning can and often does strike twice in the same place. If it’s possible, move the victim to a safer location. According to the CDC, unless the person fell or was thrown a great distance, it’s rare for someone who was struck by lightning to have broken bones, bleeding or other injuries that would cause serious complications if the victim were moved.
3. Check for breathing and a pulse. The carotid artery, which divides and runs on each side of the trachea, just under the jawbone, is the easiest place to feel the heartbeat.
4. Resuscitate. Begin mouth-to-mouth resuscitation if the person is not breathing as well as cardiac compressions if you can find no pulse. Continue your efforts until help arrives. It is a myth that a person who has just been struck by lightning still carries an electrical charge. You can touch a victim safely.
A person who remains conscious after a lightning strike is likely to develop muscle soreness, headaches, dizziness, confusion and other symptoms. Survivors often experience long-term neural injury, with symptoms that can include memory problems, irritability and personality change, chronic headaches, difficult sleeping, dizziness and balance issues, and depression.