How people survive being struck in the head by lightning – probable cause found

According to statistics, about 6,000 people die every year as a result of lightning strikes. At the same time, some people manage to survive, which can be considered a real miracle. Considering that when a lightning strike occurs, the surrounding air heats up to27,760 degrees Celsiusand abillion volts of electrical voltagepasses through the human body, the chances of survival should be zero. However, the reality is that some men and women survive even a direct lightning strike to the head. Recently, German scientists decided to study this phenomenon in detail and find a factor that significantly increases the chance of staying safe even in the most terrible thunderstorm. No matter how paradoxical it may sound, a wet head can protect a person from being struck by lightning.

How people survive being struck by lightning in the head - a probable cause has been found. Some people survive being struck by lightning in the head - scientists have discovered the probable cause of their luck. Photo.

Some people survive being hit in the head by lightning – scientists have discovered the likely reason for their luck

What are lightning strikes

When we talk about a lightning strike, you need to know what type of strike we are talking about – there are several types.

Direct lightning strikemeans that the electric discharge hit directly an object or person without any “intermediaries”. This happens extremely rarely, in about 5% of cases. Recently, such a tragedy occurred during a football match in Indonesia – lightning directly struck a 30-year-old player, and he died on the way to the hospital without regaining consciousness. As you can understand, the chance of surviving a direct lightning strike on the body is very low.

What are the types of lightning strikes? A direct lightning strike on a tree. Photo.

Direct lightning strike on a tree

About 30% of people are struck bya side flash. This happens when lightning strikes an object and creates branched current channels – if you are in the path of one of these “branches”, you can be seriously injured.

Most often people are affected bystep voltage.< /strong> This type of strike occurs when lightning strikes the ground and a person is close to this place – flows of electricity spread across the surface and pass through the person. This type of lightning strike is also deadly.

Article on the topic:Why lightning strikes and how it appears

Is it possible to survive after being struck by lightning

Surprisingly, after being struck by a voltage of up to a billion volts, some people survive. In doing so, they are sure to suffer serious injuries, because high temperatures can cause internal burns, damage organs, rupture bones and even disrupt the functioning of the nervous system. As a result of all these injuries, a person can lose sight, remain paralyzed and lose memory.

Many people are left with tree-shaped marks on their skin as a result of a lightning strike. They are known as “Lichtenberg figures” and “lightning flowers”.

Is it possible to survive a lightning strike. A lightning scar on a person's body. Photo.

Lightning scar on a human body

Some people survive even a direct lightning strike to the head. One of them in 2019 was a road worker from Penza – on a rainy day, he was about to board a bus when he was suddenly struck by an electric shock. The man's body was left with burns from metal objects on his body, but, fortunately, he survived.

Read also: Ball lightning is the most mysterious natural phenomenon

Why lightning doesn't kill people

Recently, scientists conducted an experiment and found that many people could be saved from the consequences of a lightning strike to the head by a wet head. They suggested that the liquid layer creates a shell, which takes most of the impact. The head and vital organs located in it receive less stress.

To test their assumption, the authors of the scientific work created two models of a human head from materials that imitate human tissue. They consisted of three layers, which represented the scalp, skull and brain. One head was dry and the other was wet.

Why lightning doesn't kill people. On the left is a dry head, and on the right is a wet one. As you can see, the wet head received less damage. Photo.

On the left is a dry head, and on the right is a wet one. As you can see, the wet head received less damage

The artificial heads were subjected to 10 high-voltage electrical discharges – this is how scientists simulated powerful lightning strikes. Experience has shown that up to 97% of the electrical discharge passed through the outer shell of both heads. But there was a noticeable difference in how much energy penetrated into the head. A wet head absorbed 33% less energy than a dry head. Perhaps it is this factor that increases the chances of survival when struck by lightning in the head.

Scientists also did not take into account that a person may be wearing a baseball cap or other headgear. Perhaps they will conduct additional research to fill this knowledge gap.

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Finally, it is worth noting that on our Zen channel there is an interesting article about Roy Sullivan, a man who survived seven lightning strikes. We strongly recommend reading!