Injury Caused by MP3 Player in Storm
13 July 2007
While it should be common sense not to use any sort of electrical gadget outside during a storm, there has been a rise in reported injuries as a result of such use. However, sometimes the danger is not clear. Last summer, Jason Bunch, 18, Colorado, was outside mowing the lawn and listening to his iPod while a storm was off in the distance.
Even though it wasn't raining and the storm was far off, lightning struck a nearby tree.
His iPod and headphones causing him to suffer hearing damage in both ears, burns from the earphone wires on the sides of his face, a nasty burn on his hip where the iPod had been in a pocket, and burns up along his side of his body where the earphones cord had been "outside" his t-shirt.
"It's going to hit where it's going to hit, but once it contacts metal, the metal conducts the electricity," said Dr. Mary Ann Cooper of the American College of Emergency Physicians and an ER doctor at University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago. Another, more serious case occurred when a man was jogging and listening to his iPod.
The 39 year old dentist from the Vancouver area ended up in a thunderstorm. Witnesses saw lightning hit a tree a couple of feet away which jumped to his body. He suffered second degree burns where the iPod had been strapped to his chest and up the sides of his neck. It ruptured both ear drums, dislocated tiny ear bones that transmit sound waves, and broke the man's jaw in four places.
There has also been many reported cases of similar happenings when lightning strikes near a user on a mobile phone. Apple's iPod packaging actually warns about its use during stormy weather and rain. So remember, "When thunder roars, go indoors!"
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