Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Tampa Bay Area, FL

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PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TAMPA BAY RUSKIN FL
821 AM EDT FRI JUN 27 2014

...LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK CONTINUES THROUGH SATURDAY...
...THE TOPIC FOR TODAY IS MEDICAL ASPECTS OF LIGHTNING VICTIMS...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS DECLARED THE WEEK OF JUNE 22ND
THROUGH JUNE 28TH 2014 LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK.

...MEDICAL ASPECTS...

LIGHTNING IS A MAJOR CAUSE OF STORM RELATED DEATHS IN THE UNITED
STATES...OUT PACING HURRICANES AND TORNADOES IN MOST YEARS.
ON AVERAGE...53 PEOPLE ARE KILLED BY LIGHTNING IN THE UNITED
STATES EACH YEAR. ONLY ABOUT 10 PERCENT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUCK
BY LIGHTNING ARE KILLED...LEAVING 90 PERCENT WITH VARIOUS DEGREES
OF DISABILITY. A LIGHTNING STRIKE CAN RESULT IN A CARDIAC ARREST
AT THE TIME OF THE INJURY.

ABOUT ONE THIRD OF ALL LIGHTNING RELATED INJURIES OCCUR AT WORK.
ANOTHER THIRD OF INJURIES OCCUR DURING RECREATIONAL OR SPORTS
ACTIVITIES. THE LAST THIRD OCCUR IN DIVERSE SITUATIONS...INCLUDING
INJURIES TO THOSE INSIDE BUILDINGS.

LIGHTNING VICTIMS REQUIRE IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IN ORDER TO SAVE
THEIR LIVES. CARDIAC ARREST AND IRREGULARITIES...BURNS...AND NERVE
DAMAGE ARE COMMON IN CASES WHERE PEOPLE ARE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING.
HOWEVER...WITH PROPER TREATMENT...INCLUDING CPR IF NECESSARY...MOST
VICTIMS SURVIVE A LIGHTNING STRIKE...ALTHOUGH THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS
ON THEIR LIVES AND THE LIVES OF FAMILY MEMBERS CAN BE DEVASTATING.

PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN STRUCK BY LIGHTNING OFTEN HAVE DIFFICULTY WITH
SHORT-TERM MEMORY...MULTITASKING...DISTRACTIBILITY...IRRITABILITY
AND PERSONALITY CHANGE. EARLY ON...SURVIVORS MAY COMPLAIN OF INTENSE
HEADACHES...RINGING IN THE EARS...DIZZINESS...NAUSEA AND OTHER POST-
CONCUSSION TYPES OF SYMPTOMS. SURVIVORS MAY ALSO EXPERIENCE
DIFFICULTY SLEEPING. A FEW MAY DEVELOP SEIZURE-LIKE ACTIVITY SEVERAL
WEEKS TO MONTHS AFTER THE INJURY. ANOTHER DELAYED PROBLEM FOR SOME
SURVIVORS IS PAIN IN THE BACK OR IN AN EXTREMITY. MANY OFTEN COMPLAIN
OF BECOMING EXHAUSTED AFTER ONLY A FEW HOURS OF WORK. TASKS THEY USED
TO DO AUTOMATICALLY NOW REQUIRE INTENSE CONCENTRATION.

MANY LIGHTNING VICTIMS MAY SUFFER PERSONALITY CHANGES BECAUSE OF
FRONTAL LOBE DAMAGE AND BECOME QUITE IRRITABLE AND EASY TO ANGER.
MANY ARE NOT ABLE TO DO THE ACTIVITIES THAT THEY USED TO HANDLE AND
AS A RESULT...ISOLATE THEMSELVES FROM OTHERS AND WITHDRAW FROM NORMAL
ACTIVITIES. DEPRESSION BECOMES A BIG PROBLEM FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE
CHANGED AND LOST SO MUCH...AND SOME MAY RESORT TO ALCOHOL AND OTHER
DRUGS. AN INJURY SUCH AS THIS AFFECTS THE ENTIRE FAMILY...NOT JUST
THE PERSON HIT. FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF THE SURVIVOR MUST REMAIN
SUPPORTIVE EVEN THOUGH IT MAY REQUIRE AN ADJUSTMENT IN THEIR
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SURVIVOR.

ONE MEDICAL TEST FOR DETERMINING THE NATURE AND EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE
IN A LIGHTNING VICTIM IS A FUNCTIONAL TEST OF HOW THE BRAIN IS
WORKING CALLED A NEUROCOGNITIVE OR NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL TEST. THESE
TESTS ARE ADMINISTERED BY A NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST...NOT BY A
PSYCHIATRIST. THE TESTS CONSIST OF A 6 TO 8 HOUR BATTERY OF TESTS
INCLUDING MEMORY...IQ AND ORGANIZATIONAL ABILITY. SURVIVORS OF
LIGHTNING AND ELECTRICAL INJURY USUALLY HAVE A CHARACTERISTIC PATTERN
OF DEFICITS.

ALL IN ALL...FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN TREATING SURVIVORS IS
PREVENTING LIGHTNING INJURY. WHEN THUNDER ROARS...GO INDOORS.
PREVENTION IS THE KEY.

DID YOU KNOW...AN ORGANIZATION OF TREMENDOUS HELP TO SURVIVORS...
FAMILIES...PHYSICIANS AND OTHER PROFESSIONALS IS LIGHTNING STRIKE
AND ELECTRIC SHOCK SURVIVORS INTERNATIONAL OR LSESSI...A SUPPORT
GROUP FORMED IN 1989 BY A LIGHTNING VICTIM. LSESSI CAN BE REACHED BY
VISITING THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.LIGHTNING-STRIKE.ORG...OR BY CALLING
910-346-4708.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING SAFETY...
VISIT THE LIGHTNING SAFETY AWARENESS WEEK WEB SITE AT

HTTP://WWW.LIGHTNINGSAFETY.NOAA.GOV

OR LINK FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE`S TAMPA BAY OFFICE WEBSITE
AT

HTTP://WEATHER.GOV/TAMPA

$$






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