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The chances of you being hit by lightning are small by comparison, but it does happen! Hank will go through what ultimately happens when you are struck by lightning because chances are you will survive to tell it to your friends.

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Sources for this episode:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/theprotojournalist/2013/07/17/200140433/the-randomness-of-lightning-fatalities-a-mapstory?utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=20130717
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120926-what-causes-lightening/2
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/struck-by-lightning.htm
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/05/08/ten-shocking-things-that-can-happen-if-you-are-struck-by-lightning/
http://twistedsifter.com/2012/03/lichtenberg-figures-lightning-strike-scars/
http://www.lightning-strike.org/DesktopDefault.aspx
http://www.afms.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123316472
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dispatches/2005/06/dont_stand_by_me.html
http://www.nytimes.com/1983/09/30/obituaries/roy-sullivan.html
http://discovertheodds.com/what-are-the-odds-of-being-struck-by-lightning/
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/06/0623_040623_lightningfacts.html
http://mddirect.org/2012/08/06/when-lightning-strikes/
(Intro)

Lightning strikes some place on Earth about 100 times every second. That's 3 billion times a year. Considering that, your chances of being struck are actually amazingly low.

So here in the US, where we have pretty good statistics, your chances of being struck in a single year are about 1 in 100,000 and about 1 in 3000 over your whole lifetime. These odds can vary a lot depending on where you live and what your habits are, of course. Like, if you live in Tampa and you like to play Golf in July and you have no fear of storms, your odds of getting zapped are... yeah, you're stupid.

But there are actually 2 different types of lightning strikes - direct and indirect. Direct is like Zeus aiming at the bulls eye on the top of your head. It also occurs if you're holding on to something like a flagpole, for example, that is struck and it conducts the energy into you. Indirect strikes hit the ground and then run up your legs. More people are injured in ground strikes because the energy in them can connect to multiple people at once. So while the direct, from above strike, can hit a person in a crowd and leave everyone else alone, indirect strikes could kill a whole herd of cows in seconds.

And yeah, a lightning strike is no joke. Its a 300 kilovolt burst of energy that can heat the air around it to 27,700 degrees Celsius, which is about 5 times hotter than the surface of the freaking sun.  

So, what exactly happens when the fire of 5 suns zips through your flesh and blood? Well, worst case of course you die. If the electrical current gets up in your skull it can actually cook your brain like that famous egg in the anti-drug frying-pan. But the most common and immediate death by lightning is cardiac arrest as the shock instantly stops the strike victims heart. Surprisingly though, 70-90% of lightning strike victims survive. I'm not saying they get back up and continue their game of golf unscathed, because the resulting injuries can be severe, but if you're struck you're more likely to survive than die there on the spot.

And if you do survive, here's some of what you can expect. The force of the bolt leaving your feet could literally blow your shoes off. Meanwhile the super-heat of the strike could shred your clothing or set it on fire, and if you're wearing a lot of jewelry or say an underwire bra, that metal could channel the electrical current and sear your skin.

The lightning bolt itself is probably going to leave deep wounds where it enters and exits your body so you're gonna get burned. You might also end up with possibly the coolest scar on the planet. The unique physics of electrical discharge leaves branch like marks called 'Lichtenberg' scarring which occur as blood vessels burst and the bazaar fractal scars actually look like lightning. Its like getting a free souvenir tattoo.

With that kind of electricity coursing through your body, you're also likely to end up with some damaged or totally fried nerves which could lead to permanent numbness, the inability to register temperatures or partial paralysis. Some strike survivors develop muscle twitches as well, similar to those in Parkinson's patients. Also not technically, an effect of the lightning, your eardrums might rupture from the thunder.

For many strike survivors, its actually the initial trauma that's the easiest part of the whole ordeal. The mental and physical after-effects are often plentiful and bizarre. Memory loss, sleep disorders, tremors, loss of balance, intense headaches, chronic irritability and resulting depression are all common side effects. Some of these symptoms may take months after the initial strike to manifest because being struck by lightning is so rare, many doctors don't know how to help their patients. This complaint along with higher suicide rates in strike victims has lead to the formation of various Lighting Strike Survivor Support Groups.

Roy Sullivan holds the record for receiving the most lightning strikes. He was struck by lightning 7 times during his career in the Forest Service. But though he survived the strikes initially, they may have eventually killed him when he took his own life - likely due to depression caused by repeated shocks to his brain.

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