What happens if you are struck by lightning?
So the majority of lightning strikes are negatively charged electrons that have concentrated at the bottom of storm clouds and then race down to the ground. This is heavily abbreviated, but the key point here is that there is a long jet of negative particles just looking for something that conducts electricity to make contact with and travel through to the earth.
People conduct electricity, which means we’re made up of atoms that can accept and then pass along negatively charged particles, much like a tiny game of hot potato. Metal also conducts electricity, which is why you are statistically more likely to be hit by lightning at 4pm on a Sunday in Florida than anywhere else. Because you are probably holding a nine-iron in a thunderstorm come on man what is wrong with you.
So when you’re hit by lightning, you’re being hit with LOADS of charge over a short period of time. This charge is incredibly hot, because lightning can heat the air around it to about 50,000 degrees fahrenheit. This will generally lead to third degree burns wherever it hits you, and wherever it exits you to enter the ground. You would probably have an unreal burn up near your shoulders, and another one near your feet. This charge may be enough to blow your clothes right off of you, and would definitely be strong enough to rip and shred them.
The neurons in your brain use electricity to send messages to other parts of your brain and the rest of the body. This influx of negatively charged particles could upset the way that neurons communicate and fire signals. In fact, NOAA keeps a database of stories from lightening strike survivors. Many of them, even the ones with limited physical injuries, report dealing with chronic depression for the rest of their lives. This could be related to a change in brain activity from this intense electric current.
These charges could upset the natural pacemaker in your heart and cause cardiac arrest. A lot of people who are hit by a lightning bolt dead-on die this way. Additionally, lightning can affect your circulatory system by bursting blood vessels and destroying proteins in your blood. That would explain the feathering pattern on this man here.
While researching this post, I came across the Wikipedia page of the world record holder for being struck by lightning. His name is Roy Sullivan, and he was struck 7 times. He lived through all of them, but then died in his seventies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the gut. If you read nothing else today, for the love of god read this man’s Wikipedia article.