The human body is a good conductor of electricity. We have heard of many incidents where a person gets an electric shock at the workspace or through their home appliances. When it comes to electric shock, we all have at least one bad experience in our lifetime.
But why is it that some people are not affected by electric shock, while others ended up being fatal? The answer is the amount of electric current that passes through their body.
We often see a ‘danger’ or ‘no trespass’ symbol around the generator and electric board. These symbols warn us not to touch the device because they operate continuously at high voltages. But do voltages really affect us or there are some other culprits?
Most of us are not aware of the fact that voltage does not really affect us. It is current that is forced through our bodies that affect us. This is why birds sitting on electric wires are not electrified. When a potential difference arises in a conductor, Current flows from higher potential end to the lower potential end.
This is the reason why birds are not electrified because they are of the same capacity at both ends of the body, Such as wires. Hanging on the wire at high capacity and touching the ground at zero potential creates a potential difference. It renders the flow from high potential to low potential. Thus, Forcing a huge current to flow through us.
How much current can a human body withstand?
So, it’s clear that humans can withstand any amount of voltage until and unless they are not creating a potential difference in their body.
You may be hit by a current of 10mA or 0.01 A, but it will not be fatal. At 100mA, muscle contraction begins but resistance in the human heart is low, even a part of magnitude as small as 10mA can be fatal.
However, the current never reaches the heart because our skin has more resistance than the heart and therefore absorbs the current completely. When the current magnitudes exceed 1000mA, muscle contractions increase to a level that does not allow us to move through the wires. This results in muscle paralysis and heart ventricular fibrillation, an uncontrolled intermittent moving effect of the heart ventricles that produce ineffective heartbeats. If help didn’t get in time, it can lead to death.
In addition, with a current intensity of 2000 mA, burns and fainting may occur. This shock makes the muscle contraction so severe that the heart becomes stiff. This amount of current can cause internal irritation and the clamp may result in the cardiac arrest which can lead to death.
So, are we not affected by electric current?
The amount of current flow through our body depends on the extent to which our body is permeable or immune to current. By the way, resistance to current depends on the condition of our skin. If the skin is wet it is estimated at 1000 ohms and for dry skin, it is 500000 ohms. This finite resistance of our body makes us non-impervious to current.