05/05/2015 03:19 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Happens If You're Struck By Lightning

In the video above from The Doctors, Stephanie reveals that she believes she was struck by lightning while she and her daughter were outside taking a video of a thunderstorm.

"I was in pain for four or five seconds," she recalls, and says the tingling lasted for about six hours afterward up and down her arms. "It hurt like hell," she says, and she still experiences the tingling periodically. Pointing out that she has also been forgetful since she was struck — like neglecting to shave just one of her legs — she asks The Doctors, "Are there any side effects after someone's been hit by lightning?"

Watch as the experts explain the difference between a direct strike and a ground current, how you can protect yourself, and why you ought to steer clear of fishing in a storm.

According to the National Weather Service, people who have been struck by lightning and do not suffer cardiac arrest at the time of the strike may experience any of the following mild symptoms:

  • Muscle soreness
  • Headache, nausea, upset stomach and other post-concussion symptoms
  • Mild confusion, memory slowness or mental clouding
  • Dizziness and/or balance problems

These symptoms will often clear up after a few days. Longer term problems, including slow reaction time, distractibility, irritability and headaches, may also occur.

How to reduce your risk of being struck:

  • When thunder roars, go indoors!
  • Crouch close to the ground, but do not lie flat
  • Avoid water and wet items
  • Avoid electronic equipment and anything that can conduct electricity

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