The Deadly Range of Current

By Anupum Pant

If you know your electrical sciences well, you must be knowing that it is not the voltage that kills, the current does. It doesn’t matter if you experience a shock of 750 volts or 75 volts, as long as the current is tiny. Both can be equally deadly depending on the current that flows – which depends on the resistance of the part of your body through which it passes. So, even the voltage at home can be deadly if certain conditions are met. It is the measure of current that counts.

Current above 0.01 Amperes can produce a severe shock. And since it is a popular belief that tiny currents are less deadlier than higher currents, and the fatality rises as the current increases, it is not so. There’s a sweet-spot somewhere in between. Currents in the range of 0.1 to 0.2 Amperes are the most deadly. Anything greater than 0.2 Amperes has much less chances of causing death if quick action is taken. But a current less than 0.2 Amperes is almost certain death.

That is because when the current is above 0.1 Amperes an uncoordinated twitching of the walls of the heart ventricles happens and it causes death. This is known as ventricular fibrillation. However, when the current is more than 0.2 Amperes, the current is high enough to forcibly clamp the heart. This is the human body’s way of protecting the heart from getting fibrillated. So, the chances of survival are much greater.

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