We have all heard stories about people who were struck by lightning. This sounds terrifying and in most cases it is! But let’s take a look at some statistics. The numbers are actually mind-blowing! It turns out that there is a very slim chance for you to be struck by lightning! The actual odds of this happening to someone are approximately 1:300,000. However, this means that there are still a lot of people who are misfortunate enough to be struck by lightning. The good news is that approximately 90% of these people survive the disaster! However, most of them will not only remember it, but they will carry the scars of this horrible event. The electrical discharge leaves a mark on their skin. In most cases it resembles a tattoo. This is called the Lichtenberg figure and you are about to see some examples below.
There are a lot of amazing facts about the lightning. A single lightning bolt has so much concentrated energy that it can heat the air around it to the whopping 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit (27,760 degrees Celsius)! This temperature is five times higher than the temperature of the sun! It is also charged with up to a million volts of electricity, which is mind-blowing. As you can see, these numbers are really frightening and impressive in the same time. Knowing how fragile the human body is, we find it hard to imagine what that amount of energy could do to an individual!
Science can explain what it actually does to the body after it is struck. When the lightning enters the body, all the electrical signals that are crucial for functioning of the heart, lungs and nervous system are short-circuited. Some of the aftermath may include brain injury, amnesia, cardiac arrest, seizures and even spinal cord damage. Of course, you might have guessed that the eyes could be easily damaged as well by all the intense light, the heat and the electric discharge. It can burn areas of the retina and cause a cataract, which means that the eye lens can get foggy. Men could also be affected in another way. Lightning strike can cause impotency and a significant decrease in libido.
But this is not everything that this phenomenon could do. After entering the body, the lightning continues its path inside and literally forced the red blood cells out of the capillaries. The end result is the same you get when you bruise your skin, but in most cases it is definitely more severe than that! This is when the Lichtenberg figures are created. However, these are not the only marks you would get. Any metal objects that are in contact with the skin, such as rings or belts, can cause third-degree burns! If you happen to be soaking wet during a lightning strike, the immense heat would immediately vaporize any moisture, and in some cases this could cause a steam explosion! This could literally blow the clothes off your body! This could also be extremely dangerous, so you are advised to stay safe during a storm. The risk is just not worth it!
1. This woman’s upper body was affected
It seems that this woman’s pale skin serves as a canvas and the marks of the lightning strike are even more visible. Some people would do the impossible to get rid of such scars, but we guess that there is nothing to be ashamed of and every person should embrace them!
2. The lightning tattoos are a unique phenomenon
We have a lot of respect for all the people who are willing to share their stories. This must be a truly horrible experience and it takes courage to stand up and talk about it. Perhaps most of the people who suffered a lightning strike talk about it in hope to raise awareness. If more people know about the possible consequences, the chances of someone risking their life by going out in a storm will be decreased.
3. The immense heat is something to be afraid of
As we already mentioned, the lightning can heat the surrounding air up to five times the temperature of the sun! It sounds mind-blowing and it actually is! People should take all the necessary precautions every time there is a potential danger of getting struck by lightning. There are a lot of things that could be done in order to avoid it.
4. Sometimes people do not even feel they have been struck
In some cases people do not feel a thing when they get struck by a lightning! This sounds amazing, but there are a lot of affected people who report a similar experience. They realize what happens after they see the scars.
5. The dangers for your health is immense
When such amount of electricity enters the body, it immediately causes the short circuits we already mentioned. This could mean that a lot of vital functions may fail immediately, causing a lot of problems afterwards. We believe that the line between life and death in such situations is incredibly thin. This makes the survival stories even more amazing.
6. Some of the marks are not that visible
Some people were luckier than others and their marks are not so severe. This means that they could be easily covered with some make up. We guess that some people’s line of work or other reasons would require such actions, which is understandable.
7. Some of the Lichtenberg figures have an intriguing pattern
Some of the scars that people are left with seem to follow a certain pattern. They look like snowflakes and perhaps there is a particular reason for that. It is probably due to the way the electricity affects the red blood cells in the blood vessels.
8. There are a lot of other types of burns as well
A lightning strike can cause a lot of different burns on the skin that are not Lichtenberg figures. For example, the hairs on your limbs could be burned. One of the other possible dangers is the moisture on the skin. Whether the skin is sweaty or just wet, all the moisture can be instantly vaporized. As we already mentioned, it could even cause a steam explosion which just ads to the dangerous consequences.
9. The Lichtenberg figure is not the worst you could suffer
Perhaps one of the worst things that could happen during a lightning strike is to have your eyes damaged. As we mentioned earlier, the light and the heat can cause burns to the retina. We guess that it is a far worse injury than the skin burns, and is one of the best reasons to avoid observing a lightning storm from a close distance.
10. You can be burned even if the lightning does not strike you directly
Electricity can spread easily during a discharge, meaning that a person can get hit even if the lightning strikes the ground nearby. In this kind of situation the chances of survival are probably slightly bigger, but you can never tell for sure.
11. Sometimes the consequences become visible after some time
This arm belongs to an electrician who was struck while standing in the yard and trying to protect his pumpkins. A lightning stroke his neighbor’s yard and the electrician was affected by it. He did not feel a thing, but he soon realized what happened. The Lichtenberg figure started appearing, and within the next week it continued to grow in size and texture.
12. Apparently not only the human skin can be affected in this way
As you can see, the Earth surface can also suffer from Lichtenberg figures. This golf course was struck by lightning and the marks on the grass are similar to those on people’s skin. Apparently lightning strikes more than 25 million times only in the United States!