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Get Help if You are Struck by Lightning in Central California

Your odds of being struck by lighting are low, but if it happens, injuries can be significant. The massive electric current from a lightning strike can cause damage to internal organs, burns, and cardiac arrest. Around one out of 10 lightning strikes are fatal. Call 911 and seek emergency treatment if someone near you has been struck by lightning.

Dignity Health Central California emergency rooms are staffed by specially trained doctors, nurses, and technicians around the clock. If you’ve been struck by lightning in Central California, our emergency services teams know how to quickly provide the care you need. For less immediate emergencies, our online waiting service, InQuicker, allows you to wait at home, not the ER.


Symptoms of Lightning Strike

Symptoms of a lightning strike include:

  • Thermal burns
  • Clothing that is blown apart or burned
  • Breathing problems, including not breathing
  • Confusion, disorientation, and memory problems
  • Cardiac arrest or irregular heartbeat
  • Personality changes, which can be permanent
  • Loss of consciousness or coma
  • Temporary hearing loss
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Vision problems

Always seek medical attention after being struck by lighting. Even if the injury appears minor, lightning strikes can cause permanent injury and disability.


Causes of Lightning Strikes

Lightning usually strikes the tallest object it can find. Isolated objects also are targets, including towers, trees, flagpoles, playground equipment, fences, and even people. Open spaces put you and these objects at even greater risk. 

You may be surprised to learn that almost a third of lightning strikes happen indoors. Lightning can travel through telephone lines, water pipes, and power lines to enter a building.


Lightning Strike Treament at Dignity Health Central California

Call 911 immediately if someone has been struck by lightning. Next, see if it is safe to touch the person. Move him or her to a safer area if there is a continued danger from lightning strikes. If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, start cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and continue until help arrives. Cover the person with a jacket or blanket to help prevent hypothermia.

Help prevent lightning strikes by practicing lightning safety and being aware of potential danger. Go inside a closed-top vehicle or building if you hear thunder. Once inside, stay away from porches, doors, and windows. Avoid corded phones, electrical equipment, and water. If you can’t get out of an open area, crouch in a ball as close to the ground as you can. Do not lie flat on the ground.

Once at one of our advanced emergency rooms, our experts will assess the person’s injuries and provide fast, personalized treatment. Rely on our team to deliver care with humankindness, even in time-sensitive situations.

Dignity Health offers emergency treatment if you’ve been struck by lightning in Central California, including Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.