Experts warn against wearing iPods during electrical storms

“Listen to an iPod during a storm and you may get more than electrifying tunes,” Linda A. Johnson reports for The Associated Press.

“A Canadian jogger suffered wishbone-shaped chest and neck burns, ruptured eardrums and a broken jaw when lightning traveled through his music player’s wires,” Johnson reports. “Last summer, a Colorado teen ended up with similar injuries when lightning struck nearby as he was listening to his iPod while mowing the lawn.”

Johnson reports, “Emergency physicians report treating other patients with burns from freak accidents while using personal electronic devices… Contrary to some urban legends and media reports, electronic devices don’t attract lightning the way a tall tree or a lightning rod does.”

“When lightning jumps from a nearby object to a person, it often flashes over the skin. But metal in electronic devices — or metal jewelry or coins in a pocket — can cause contact burns and exacerbate the damage,” Johnson reports.

Johnson reports, “A spokeswoman for Apple Inc., the maker of iPods, declined to comment. Packaging for iPods and some other music players do include warnings against using them in the rain.”

Full article here.

Helen Branswell reports for The Canadian Press, “Wearing the device that is said to put ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’ during a thunderstorm may have sent millions of volts surging through the head of an unlucky Vancouver jogger.”

“His eardrums were ruptured, his jaw fractured and he suffered first- and second-degree burns from his chest – where the device was strapped – up into his ear channels, along the trail of the iPod’s trademark white earphones. He also had burns down his left leg and on the foot, where the electricity exited his body, blowing his sneaker to smithereens in the process,” Branswell reports.

“‘Using things like this, a mobile phone or an iPod, there isn’t actually an increased risk (of incurring a lightning injury),’ Dr. Eric Heffernan, a radiologist at Vancouver General Hospital, said from Vancouver. ‘But we just suggest that if you are unlucky enough to be hit by lightning while listening to anything with earphones you may be more likely to do yourself some damage.'”

“As for the offending IPod, well, it was ‘damaged beyond repair. Absolutely burned to a crisp,’ Heffernan said,” Branswell reports. “The man has bought another, the doctor reported. But as the old adage goes, once burned, twice shy. He no longer wears an IPod when he goes out for a jog.”

Full article here.

The New England Journal of Medicine’s report “Thunderstorms and iPods – Not a Good iDea” is here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “klapka,” “Shawn,” and “Pierre” for the heads up.]

Striking.

62 Comments

  1. If it ruptured his eardrums, how did he expect to listen to his new iPod? I guess the shock didn’t knock any sense into him. Free second rate health care in Canada tho’, eh?

  2. It is not the iPod per se that does the damage. It is the type of music you are listening to.

    Punk rock and rap are the worst offenders. When listening to this genre you don’t even notice that you are being struck by lightning and therefore you just stand there and take multiple strikes as opposed to falling to the ground where the lightning will no longer hit you.

  3. And in other news, a man wearing his iPod in a waterproof case was bitten by a shark off the coast of Florida. The doctor who examined the bite said that the iPod provided no protection whatsoever from the shark’s razor sharp teeth.

    Shark experts said that sharks are attracted to electrical impulses, and that the shrill voice of Clay Aiken coming from the iPod’s headphones may have driven the shark into a feeding frenzy.

    Apple, Inc. was contacted minutes before this article was uploaded, and did not respond quickly enough to satisfy this journalist, therefore appearing guilty of promoting shark attacks.

  4. File this under “duh”. I live where thunder storms are common. I have knoen since I was 5, read five years old, not to be out side if at all possible when thunder storms are visible in the area.

  5. The problem remains that lightning programming is still done on normally unpatched Windows computers. It’s the defective implementation of that program within the defective operating system that is the real culprit here! Yes, all can be traced backed to Microsoft…

  6. An Aussie iPod collection in no particular order, but the YEAH YEAH YEAHS are my favs lately – Couldn’t think of many more right now, but there are soooo many others. Aussie music has always rocked !!!
    Tune into FBI – a Sydney – local indie radio station.

    FBI

    Anyway – every one of them is worth check’n out, course some will be familiar to you. As Ian “Molly” Meldrum the iconic aussie presenter of Count Down would say “… Do yourself a favor and check them out …”

    PTY LTD
    SPIDERBAIT
    THE BIRTHDAY PARTY
    THE ANGLES
    JOHN BUTLER TRIO
    ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI
    NICK CAVE
    THE LIVING END
    SNEAKY SOUND SYSTEM
    AUGIE MARCH
    JET
    PARKWAY DRIVE
    BLACK SORROWS
    THE HERD
    DIVINYLS
    HILLTOP HOODS
    YEAH YEAH YEAHS
    ROGUE TRADERS
    GRINSPOON
    THE AUDREYS
    THE WAIFS
    THE WHITLAMS
    INXS
    LITTLE RIVER BAND
    THE SAINTS
    COLD CHISEL
    LASH
    THE CHURCH
    YOU AM I
    SEVERD HEADS
    SONIC ANIMATION
    THE VINES
    1200 TECHNIQUES
    WOLTHMOTHER
    INSTITUT POLAIRE
    THE AVALANCHES
    EVERMORE
    POWDER FINGER

    If Apple could pre-load an iPod with this lot, I reckon that would be a kinda cool, coz i like em … again, no particular order. tracks in parenthesis are Grade’

    AIR
    THE CURE
    KULA SHAKER
    LEMON JELLY
    SLADE
    ST GERMAIN
    45 DIP
    NICK DRAKE
    LIBERA
    SIGUR ROS
    DJ SHADOW
    GRACE JONES – REMIXED
    SEELENLUFT
    DIRECTIONS IN GROVE
    THE DOORS
    JEFF BUCKLEY
    JIMMY SMITH
    KOSHEEN
    L. VIZZANA
    OMD
    QUEEN
    RINOCEROSE
    ROOT DOCTORS (I’D RATHER GO BLIND)
    TONY SCOTT
    MARC MOULIN (INTO THE DARK)
    STEVE LAWLER (2 BKACK 2 GAY)
    CORNELIUS

    Get em off iTunes.

  7. Gee Sky Lark,

    Are you plugging FBI (a pretty good station) or commenting about this story. Now as the station is Sydney based why don’t you link the story to the fact that Sydney has more thunderstorms than any capital city in the world. Now wouldn’t that be relevant? (However, many of your listed bands are pretty damn good.)

    This a good reminder that if you are caught out in a thunderstorm you shouldn’t be listening to any mp3 player…especially Zunes. (It’s one thing to be zapped, it’s another thing to end up in hospital shouting I HAVE NO TASTE AND I HAVE NO STYLE!)

  8. I have no connection with FBI, just like them.

    But the more rain we get here the better.

    Any way it’s all about thinning out the herd and gene pool.
    Actually that’s a bit flippant, don’t like to see or hear of anyone get hurt,

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