When discussing explosion injuries, it’s common to bring up some of the most obvious ones. Explosions have obvious repercussions involving contact with fire, heavy objects, and other things a person comes in contact with during one. However, there’s another source of explosion injury that many people don’t always think of: the blast. While nearly invisible to the eye, a blast’s force can cause significant injuries.
Blast injuries occur from the force of an explosion’s blast rather than objects one throws or the heat one produces. Notably, the Centers for Disease Control states that blast injuries are usually seen on battlefields. Yet, workers across the nation are at risk of being exposed to explosions and suffering from injuries no one should have to face—whether at war or at work.
Understanding What Causes Blast Injuries
First, it’s important to understand the “invisible” forces that cause blast injuries. Blast overpressure is the pressure caused by an explosion’s shockwave. Overpressure describes any time something causes a person to experience a force that is above what typical atmospheric pressure produces. The stronger an explosion, the more blast overpressure a person is likely to experience. As a shockwave travels, it loses strength—making how close a person is to an explosion an important determination for how much force they experience from it.
So, two important factors influence the force of overpressure caused by shockwaves: the strength of an explosion and a person’s proximity to it.
Blast lung is an injury that occurs from an explosion’s over-pressurization wave. It’s described as the occurrence of respiratory difficulty without obvious injury to the chest. The CDC notes how important this injury is to recognize because it’s the most common fatal injury among initial survivors of an explosion. Signs of it are typically obvious immediately after a person survives an explosion. However, some cases have been observed as late as 48 hours after exposure to a blast.
Signs of blast lung include:
- Hemoptysis (coughing up blood)
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Low heart rate
- Low blood pressure
Brain Injuries Caused by Shockwaves
Just as with lung injuries, blasts can cause a person to sustain a traumatic brain injury. Notably, blasts can cause a person to sustain a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)—also known as a concussion—without any object contacting their head. Signs of a concussion caused by an explosion are not always obvious, making it important to seek medical attention if you were close to a blast but don’t exhibit obvious injuries.
Signs of an MTBI caused by the force of a blast include:
- Poor concentration
Explosions can cause ear injuries that need to be examined by a doctor to determine how severe they are and what treatment they require.
Signs of an ear injury after an explosion include:
- Bleeding from the ears
- Hearing loss
- Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
- Pain or discomfort near ears
- Discharge from ears
One of the most common types of ear injuries after an explosion is a tympanic member perforation. The tympanic membrane sits between the external and middle ear. It helps a person hear by vibrating when struck by sound waves. This injury is popularly referred to as a ruptured eardrum. If a person suspects they have a ruptured eardrum, it’s crucial to have the extent of their injury examined by a doctor.
Since the abdomen is the location of gas-containing portions of a person’s digestive system, it’s susceptible to injuries caused by pressurized blast shockwaves.
Abdominal injuries caused by blasts include:
- Bowel perforations
- Mesenteric tears
- Lacerated organs
- Testicular ruptures
After an explosion, survivors should be monitored for signs of an abdominal injury. If left untreated for too long, abdominal injuries can be fatal or accompanied by serious complications.
Signs of an abdominal injury after an explosion include:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal pain
- Testicular pain
- Blood in stool
- The sensation of incomplete defecation
Did You Survive an Explosion? Call (888) 493-1629 for the Legal Help You Deserve
Surviving an explosion and the injuries one causes is the first step of recovery. If you’ve sustained injuries after a preventable explosion, whether at work or somewhere, you deserve help from an experienced law firm. At Arnold & Itkin LLP, our team has helped people recover from explosions at refineries, industrial plants, oil rigs, and other locations. We’ve done this by standing up for their rights, demanding answers from those who could’ve prevented the accident, and seeking the compensation they need to rebuild their lives.
Call us today for a free consultation with explosion lawyers who’ve recovered billions for clients. We’re standing by to hear your story right now at (888) 493-1629.