Science Questions

Sat, 15th Oct 2005

Part of the show Avian Flu, How Flu Spreads and How to Avoid It

Question

Sandra from Northampton asked:

I'm in contention with someone at work, who is saying something that I don't believe is true. He maintains that if you hold your breath, it changes your bone composition in such a way that it allows your body to accept a low current, such as putting your finger in a light socket without being hurt.

Answer

The reality is that if you take a deep breath, the only things it's going to do is affect the volume of your lungs, and affect your blood pressure and heart rate. When you take a deep breath in, it triggers a reflex that makes your heart rate go up a little bit, but that's about all. It won't affect anything to do with your bones and it certainly won't affect whether you can tolerate being electrocuted. If you put your fingers anywhere near mains electricity, you have a very real chance of being killed. You must tell this person to stop spreading silly rumours, because he's going to get someone killed at some point.

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