Cell phones, as you know, can kill you. While there is still some controversy over whether your cell phone is capable of killing you slowly (e.g. brain tumors), there's no doubt about the cell phone's ability to facilitate a quick death (e.g. the idiot behind the wheel of a car whose phone conversion makes him oblivious to what's happening on the road). And now the British Medical Journal has discovered another way for cell phones to finish you off quickly: lightning.
Talking on a cell phone during a lightning storm won't increase your chances of getting hit, but in those rare cases when lightning does strike, it makes it easier for you to fry. As the BBC explains:
When a person is hit by lightning, the high resistance of human skin causes the lightning charge to flows over the body – often known as an 'external flashover'.
But some of the current can flow through the body. The more that flows through, the more internal damage it causes.
Conductive materials in direct contact with the skin such as liquid or metal objects increases the risk that the current will flow through the body and therefore cause internal injury.
That phone pressed to your head will help matters along, because “The metal in the phone directs the current into the body”.
And what does a doctor in the ear, nose and throat department of Northwick Park Hospital in London have to say about this?
Swinda Esprit, a doctor in the ear, nose and throat department said: “It is obvious really but we all carry mobile phones and we don't think about it.
“If you're struck by lightning on its own it will flash over your body but if you're holding a phone it will internalise and cause much worse injuries.
“Children particularly won't realise the risk.
“In Australia they have guidelines, and one of the things they say is not to hold mobile phones outside during storms.”
Dr Esprit said mobile phone manufacturers should warn consumers of the dangers.
In fairness to the cell phone-industrial complex, I'm sure they'd want me to point out that cell phones don't kill people– it's just that people with cell phones get killed. With, as we now know, the occasional rare assist from Mother Nature.