May 23, 2024
Get enlightened on the effects of lightning strikes on the human body, including medical consequences, recovery process, and psychological impact. This article provides insights into surviving a lightning strike and offers lightning safety strategies for staying safe during thunderstorms.


Lightning strikes can be fascinating to watch from a distance, but they can be deadly if you’re caught in the middle of a storm. Knowing what to do when a storm hits and how to protect yourselves can help save your life. This article provides a comprehensive guide on what happens when you’re struck by lightning, the consequences, and the recovery process. It also includes lightning safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe during thunderstorms.

The Science Behind Lightning Strikes: What Happens When You Get Hit and Survive

Lightning is an electrical discharge caused by the buildup of electrons within a storm cloud. When the electric charge within the cloud becomes too great, it discharges in a bright, powerful strike that we know as lightning. When lightning strikes a person, it can cause serious harm or even death.

If you’re struck by lightning, the high voltage of the electrical charge courses through your body, damaging vital organs, and neurological systems. Common medical consequences of a lightning strike include burns, cardiac arrest, and neurological damage. Even if you manage to survive the immediate effects of a lightning strike, it can have long-term effects on your body and brain function.

Despite the danger, some people have been fortunate enough to survive lightning strikes. Their stories offer a unique perspective on what it’s like to experience such a rare and severe event. One survivor, a neurosurgeon named Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, explains how she felt during the ordeal: “I felt like a cartoon character where you see the skeleton after the explosion. My body was doing things that I didn’t have control over.”

Surviving a Lightning Strike: A Personal Account of Life After the Bolt

Surviving a lightning strike can physically and emotionally impact the victim. Most survivors report experiencing an awakening or a radical change in their perspective on life and the world around them. One survivor, Bryan Stanley, a former college wrestler and football player, says the incident left him with a lingering sense of vulnerability:

“I had that feeling like, I’m as strong as an ox, and suddenly I realized I’m really not. I went through this tough time afterwards where I didn’t really know how to be in my own skin, because everything I thought I was as a person was no longer a reality for me. It was a scary time, but it taught me a lot.”

Psychologists agree that lightning strike survivors often suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD after the incident. It can take months or even years to recover both physically and emotionally from the shock of surviving a lightning strike. But with the right support, many survivors can adjust to their new life and use the experience as a catalyst for growth and positive change.

Electrifying Effects: The Physical and Psychological Impact of Lightning Strikes

The physical impact of lightning strikes is well-documented. However, the psychological impact of surviving a lightning strike is relatively understudied. Recent research suggests that lightning strike survivors may experience an increased risk of developing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to psychologist Dr. Paula McCombie, “A lightning strike is a traumatic event that can impact both mental and physical health in the long-term.”

Besides, lightning strikes can damage the nervous system, particularly the brain’s natural electrical impulses. Survivors may experience fatigue, headaches, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating. Many survivors report feeling “foggy-headed” or struggling with basic aspects of cognitive function after the incident.

If you or a loved one have survived a lightning strike, it’s essential to seek support from a qualified mental health professional who specializes in trauma and PTSD.

When Lightning Strikes: What to Do and Not to Do If You’re Caught in a Storm

Many people believe that lightning never strikes twice or that rubber soles protect the wearer from lightning; both of these are MYTHS. When lightning strikes, it seeks the shortest path to the ground, regardless of what’s in its way. Here are some dos and don’ts to stay safe during a lightning storm:


  • Stay indoors: The best defense is to stay indoors and avoid the storm altogether. Unplug sensitive electronics and close windows and doors.
  • Stay away from windows, doors, and water sources: They conduct electricity, increasing your chances of being struck.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunder: Stay inside for 30 minutes after the last thunderclap, as lightning can strike from a distance.
  • Watch for warning signs: If you hear thunder or see dark clouds forming, pay attention, and stay alert.
  • Get low: If you can’t make it inside, squat low to the ground and place your hands over your ears.


  • Stay in open areas: If you’re outside, avoid open fields, hilltops, and any area that’s more elevated than the surrounding landscape.
  • Seek shelter under trees: Avoid seeking shelter under trees or any metal structures, like fences, umbrellas, or light posts.
  • Touch metal objects: Wearing jewelry or carrying metallic objects increases your chances of being struck.
  • Leave shelter during a storm: Avoid walking or running during a storm, as you risk being struck by lightning.

Lightning Safety 101 – Tips to Keep You Safe During Thunderstorms

Here are some essential lightning safety tips to help keep you safe:

Prepare Before the Storm

  • Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio: A weather radio will alert you when severe weather is approaching.
  • Plan indoor activities: If the forecast calls for thunderstorms, plan indoor activities in advance.
  • Designate a safe room: Choose a safe room indoors where everyone can gather in the event of a storm.

Stay Informed

  • Check weather reports regularly: Keep an eye on weather reports and alerts through your local news and weather station.
  • Download a weather app: There are plenty of weather apps that can alert you to incoming storms and provide real-time updates on your smartphone.

Teach Your Children

  • Teach your children about lightning safety: Educate your children about lightning safety and the risks of being outside during a thunderstorm.
  • Encourage your children to come indoors during a storm: Remind them that the safest place to be during a storm is indoors.
  • Explain the importance of not seeking shelter under trees: Teach your children to avoid trees or any metal structures during a storm.


Lightning strikes are serious weather events that can cause significant harm to those who are caught in the midst of a storm. Knowing what to do when a storm is approaching and how to stay safe can mean the difference between life and death. Surviving a lightning strike can have long-lasting physical and emotional consequences, but with proper care and support, many can recover and thrive. Remember to always take lightning safety seriously, stay informed about weather patterns, and teach your children about lightning safety.

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