Surviving a Lightning Strike

Men are more likely to be struck by lightning than women by 4%.

Why is this? It could be because men are more prone to swing metal objects outdoors? No one knows for sure. Could be that lightening is just more attracted to testosterone. Possible, but not likely.

The National Weather Service reported in 1994, that 84% of lightning fatalities and 82% of injuries are males. Fortunately, death by lightning has decreased substantially in recent years.

All kidding aside, lightning is a serious killer. In the United States, 62 or more people are killed each year by lightning. In 2006, 47 confirmed deaths and 246 confirmed injuries were reported nationally.

A lightning strike can cause immediate cardiac arrest. Some victims may die a few days later die to being resuscitated. Usually, these victims have irreversible brain damage.

A lightning strike is an electrical shock. It can cause a burn where the lightning entered the body as well as where it exited. Being stuck by lightning can cause damage to the nervous system, fracture bones and cause loss of sight or hearing.

Damages to the body can be long term and should be treated by a qualified physician. These long term damages can include inability to sit for long periods of time as well as:

* Memory Loss
* Attention deficit
* Sleep disorders
* Numbness
* Dizziness
* Stiffness in joints
* Irritability
* Fatigue
* Weakness
* Muscle spasms
* Depression

Based on the population of the United States in 2000, a persons chance of being struck and killed by lightning are 1 in 5,000. The odds of knowing someone who has been struck by lightning are 1 in 500.

Getting stuck by lightning causes serious damage to the nervous system. Any time the brain is affected, it results in short term memory loss, difficulty in processing both new and old information (memories) as well as the victims ability to multi-task. Victims have problems with
focusing on tasks. There is usually a change in personality, most drastically in irritability.

Immediately after being struck by lightning, survivors may experience intense headaches, ringing in the ears, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Sleep patterns are disturbed, some survivors find it difficult to fall asleep while others sleep excessively for a short time and then can not sleep longer than 2-3 hours at a time.

Caused by frontal lobe damage, survivors become easily irritated and angry. Many survivors isolate themselves because they are unable to express themselves and their feelings as well as they did prior to being struck by lightening.

– Depression
Depression may become an unbearable problem for survivors. They have lost many of their normal functions and have difficulty understanding what has happened to them.

– Suicide
After depression sets in and survivors start isolating themselves from their normal activities, family and friends, many survivors resort to alcohol and drugs. particularly those who have previously used these options. Any person with a long term illness often thinks of suicide. Chronic pain also develops as a delayed effect from the lightning strike. Lightning survivors don’t have the mental capacity to completely understand their new handicaps and often resort to suicide as the only means to the confusion and depression they live with on a daily basis.

* The Good News: HELP EXISTS *
Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Survivors, International (LSESSI), was formed in 1989 by a lightning strike survivor. The organization is a tremendous support group, they help survivors network with others in their area. LSESSI offers printed materials and provides an annual meeting where survivors meet for support and speeches from professionals who work with lightning survivors and their families.

LSESSI can be reached at 910-346-4708,, or see their Website at, or at P.O. Box 1156, Jacksonville, NC 28541-1156.