Health Effects of Lightning Strikes

June 22, 2011; 8:00 AM ET
Share |

Lightning strikes are nearly as varied as snowflakes. Each individual strike is unique, and the effects on lightning-strike victims can be equally varied.

Some strikes can be mostly harmless, while others can be severe and even deadly.

In the U.S. alone, there are over 25 million lightning flashes every year. While uncommon, these flashes kill an average of 58 people, while injuring at least 300 more.

While lightning strikes may seem to not cause initial external damage, internal damage can be severe.

Short-term health problems can include anything from mild daze to paralysis, and long-term issues can cause recurring problems. Many former lightning strike victims complain of joint and muscle problems and neurological issues such as memory loss or headaches.

Obviously, anyone struck by lightning should immediately consult a doctor and also think about contacting their insurance company to make sure any and all incidents are covered.

Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from where it is raining. If you hear thunder, you are at risk even if you don't see lightning.

The odds of getting struck by lightning are slim, but the more prepared you are for such an eventuality, the better. There are several different ways to keep yourself safe from lightning strikes on land and sea.


Comments left here should adhere to the Community Guidelines. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.

More Weather News

  • PHOTOS: Damaging Winds Whip Washington

    August 30, 2015; 4:45 PM ET

    A strong storm system moved into Washington on Saturday, delivering powerful winds that lead to widespread damage and power outages.

Daily U.S. Extremes

past 24 hours

  Extreme Location
High N/A
Low N/A
Precip N/A


This Day In Weather History

East Coast (1954)
Hurricane Carol hit with the single greatest property loss to date.

Raleigh, NC (1965)
46 degrees -- coldest ever in August.

Vermont (1982)
Three inches of snow fell in parts of the state; record lows were set in 31 northeastern U.S. cities and towns.

Rough Weather