Doctors issue warning on mobile phone lightning strike risk

People should not use mobile phones outdoors during thunderstorms because of the risk of being struck by lightning, doctors, quoted by Reuters, said.

The report said doctors issued the warning after reporting the case of a 15-year-old girl who was using her phone in a park when she was hit by lightning during a storm.

Although she was revived, she suffered persistent health problems and was using a wheelchair a year after the accident, the report said.

"This rare phenomenon is a public health issue, and education is necessary to highlight the risk of using mobile phones outdoors during stormy weather to prevent future fatal consequences from lighting strike injuries," Swinda Esprit, a doctor at Northwick Park Hospital in England, was quoted as saying.

Esprit and other doctors at the hospital added in a letter to the British Medical Journal that usually when someone was struck by lightning, the high resistance of the skin conducted the flash over the body in what was known as a flashover, the report said.

But if a metal object, such as a phone, is in contact with the skin, it disrupts the flashover and increases the odds of internal injuries and death, according to the report.

The doctors added that three fatal cases of lightning striking people while using mobile phones had been reported in newspapers in China, South Korea and Malaysia, the report further said.