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Experts set out lightning guidelines

Wednesday August 29th, 2012

Wilderness doctors have published new guidance for dealing with the effects of lightning - including the best way to avoid it when caught in the open.

Experts call for "reverse triage" in that first aiders should pay most attention to those who appear to be lifeless following a lightning strike.

Writing in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine. the Wilderness Medical Society says victims usually suffer simultaneous cardiac and respiratory arrest.

They may recover spontaneously - but this will not prevent a second cardiac arrest without ventilation, they say.

The guidelines set out 17 strategies for treatment.

And the best way to avoid lightning in the open, they say, is a squatting position, resting on the toes.

About 24,000 people annually are killed by lightning around the world, it is claimed.

Dr Chris Davis, of the University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora, USA, said: "With some basic prevention strategies and common sense the vast majority of lightning injuries can be prevented."

Wilderness & Environmental Medicine September 2012, Volume 23, Issue 3

Tags: A&E | General Health | Heart Health | North America | World Health

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