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Author Topic: Can you get tissue damage from a static electric shock?  (Read 5334 times)

Offline thedoc

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Cristina asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Please be prepared for an almost silly or unbelievable  account of a static electric shock. It was so uniquely random and shocking (literally and figuratively). I was shocked on the right tip of my nose, while smelling an open bottle of hair gel (to check if the scent was appealing). I asked the clerk if it were alright to open the container, she offered to do so and then held the bottle close to my nose. I leaned toward the plastic bottle top, when a very loud, "pop" of electricity shocked me. I jolted back grabbing my nose, and the clerk was very surprised by the audibly "very loud pop" of electricity. It was very quick, but quite painful, it felt as if an electric charged hot poker pierced my nose.  My eyes immediately began to tear from the pain and continued go do so for almost any 15 minutes. The following day, I still had a lot of pain, but now it was localized to a spot higher up the nose by the tip of the cartilage, there also seems to be a deep reddish mark, noticed from under the skin, not upon the surface. Can I possibly have incurred tissue damage from this incredibly random static shock? (If that is what it was?!) Please give any input, if possible. Thank you.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 04/12/2014 16:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: Can you get tissue damage from a static electric shock?
« Reply #1 on: 04/12/2014 19:47:03 »
Quote
Can I possibly have incurred tissue damage from this incredibly random static shock?

Yes. Ask anyone who has been struck by lightning! Electrical flash burns are often quite deep.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Can you get tissue damage from a static electric shock?
« Reply #2 on: 04/12/2014 20:04:38 »
If it's any consolation, the sales clerk probably lost just as many skin cells from being on the other end of the tiny spark.

However, we are familiar with the annoyance of static shocks to our fingers.
Static shocks to the nose are less common, and probably feel more painful.

The damage is very localised, so the skin cells which exploded into steam should rapidly regrow from surrounding cells.
« Last Edit: 05/12/2014 12:19:05 by evan_au »
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Can you get tissue damage from a static electric shock?
« Reply #3 on: 04/12/2014 22:30:59 »
As a small child I got a nasty little burn on the very tip of my nose from static discharge of a synthetic fiber blanket I was dragging across my head (to see the sparks). It looked like a a small glowing arm reached out and punched me in the nose (I can still picture it vividly). I'm just glad it didn't get my eye! It hurt a lot at the time, and was sore for a day or two, but healed with no complications (other than making me afraid of my blankets for a little while)
 

Offline RD

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Re: Can you get tissue damage from a static electric shock?
« Reply #4 on: 04/12/2014 22:41:19 »
The linoleum flooring used by some (cheaper) supermarkets can be to blame.

You build up charge walking around on the lino for a few minutes , then when your hand gets close to metal which is earthed , like a freezer-door-handle  or the checkout desk , you get a strong static electricity discharge.

The conveyor-belt at the checkout is another possible suspect , it could act like the belt in a Van de Graff generator ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_de_Graaff_generator  building up a high voltage.
« Last Edit: 04/12/2014 22:47:32 by RD »
 

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Re: Can you get tissue damage from a static electric shock?
« Reply #4 on: 04/12/2014 22:41:19 »

 

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