# Can a human be killed by electro-static discharge while performing daily chores? [closed]

During freezing-winter seasons, as soon as I reach my office and get off the warm-clothing; I get an electrostatic discharge whenever I touch a metallic water-fountain in my lab. The shock I get is sometimes so severe that for half-an hour my arm remain numb.

I am curious, whether is it possible that a human be killed from such an electro-static discharge while performing daily chores?

## closed as off-topic by Kyle Kanos, Brandon Enright, Danu, JamalS, NeuneckOct 6 '14 at 8:38

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• This question appears to be off-topic because it is about the biological response to an applied electric charge and not physics. Perhaps Biology.SE might be suitable? – Kyle Kanos Oct 6 '14 at 2:48
• I am looking for some physicist's response. – kaka Oct 6 '14 at 2:51
• Your query is on the fatality of electric shock, this is outside the realm of physics. – Kyle Kanos Oct 6 '14 at 2:55
• A typical estimate for the capacitance of the human body is 100-200pF. Electrostatic discharge voltages range from a couple thousand to maybe 15kV. If you calculate the total energy in such a discharge, you end up with maybe 25mJ. That's far too little to kill a human (especially since almost all of the discharge current will flow trough layers of tissue close to the skin), however, it may provoke a panic reaction that could turn deadly under highly unfortunate circumstances e.g. if it happens on the steps of a ladder and the person falls. – CuriousOne Oct 6 '14 at 4:58
• This question appears to be off-topic because it is about electrical safety and the biological effects of electric discharge through the human body. – Brandon Enright Oct 6 '14 at 5:32

• I probably didn't clear much in my question. The water fountain is not electric at all, and after getting a shock, everything gets normal so is the fountain. However, fountain has a complete metallic body which might/must be earthed. I am sure that I get shock because fountain is very nicely earthed (0.7 $\Omega$). – kaka Oct 6 '14 at 5:41