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Prevent the harmful effects of lightning

Monday, October 07, 2019

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is reminding the public that lightning strikes are harmful to health and are potentially fatal.

“A lightning bolt is a million times more powerful than household current, carrying up to 100 million volts of electricity. When someone is struck by lightning, an electrical shock occurs that can cause burns and even stop the person's heart or breathing,” the ministry reminded in a news release on the weekend.

Over the last four weeks, sections of Jamaica particularly eastern, southern and central parishes have been experiencing heavy rain and lightning, and a number of people have been seriously affected by lightning strikes.

“Climatologists have warned that due to climate change, the likelihood of being struck by lightning has increased, partly due to thunderstorms becoming more explosive as a consequence of warming temperatures,” the minister explained.

According to the ministry, published data indicate that globally over 20,000 people are affected by lightning, and several thousand die due to lightning-related injuries every year.

Increasing population density, increasing lightning density from climate variability, and hilly terrain play important roles in the number of lightning deaths. The risk to Jamaicans is, therefore, significant, the ministry warned.