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How Many Amps Can Kill You?

Human body is quite fragile and can be mutilated with ease. There is a limit to how much physical force it can bear, but it is always difficult to deal with electric force. The extent of damage usually depends on what electrical conduit you choose to grab, touch, or stick your tongue on. It also depends on how many amperes you touch.

How Many Amps Can Kill You?

You are going to experience a painful shock by being exposed to over 10 milliamps (0.01 amps) of current. 

Currents of 0.1 to 0.2 amps usually prove lethal. 

Currents over 0.2 amps usually produce severe burns and unconsciousness, but immediate medical attention may help save the life of the person. Practically speaking, it is not possible to tell how much current passes through the vital organs when someone experiences an electrical shock. It is therefore important to apply artificial respiration immediately, especially if breathing has stopped.

Effects of Electrical Current on the Body

The amount of electrical current passing through the body and the length of time for which someone receives the current will determine the severity of injury from an electrical shock.

An average person can withstand 10 milliamperes (mA) of internal current and still control the muscle of the arm. Anything over 10mA is capable of paralyzing muscles, which means the person cannot release a wire, tool, or an electrified object. This results in a longer exposure to the current, which will cause serious damage. Being exposed to an electrical shock for an extended time may lead to respiratory paralysis and you stop breathing for some time. It is possible to experience respiratory paralysis from voltages as low as 49 volts.

You may experience ventricular fibrillation, or very rapid heartbeat, after being exposed to currents over 75mA. If you ask, "How many amps can kill you?" this is the answer. Ventricular fibrillation can cause death in a few minutes. It is possible to save a person if he/she receives immediate medical attention where a defibrillator is used.

It is important to understand that even if you are exposed to a lower electrical current for a long time, this will cause more damage than being exposed to a higher electrical current for a short time. Longer exposure times result in serious damage. It means 100mA applies for 3 seconds is equally dangerous as 900mA applies for 0.03 seconds. Your muscle structure will also play a role here – you are more likely to experience serious damage at lower current levels if you have less muscle tissue. Even the low voltages may prove damaging in this case.

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