Taking a Bath during a Storm is Dangerous- Myth or Reality?

in stemng •  5 months ago

If you grew up in Nigeria, there is a big chance you must've heard a fair share of myths and legends. Some genuinely believe these to be true while others, maybe due to education plus enlightenment, may just take some of the stories as folktales. For instance, some think that whistling at night is an invitation for trouble. When I heard about this, I whistled every chance I got to check out how much trouble I could get.

While today's topic may not be about Nigeria's myth and legends, which of course is many, it is about something that looks quite strange.

I do not know if you have heard about the warning which one may get when you need that quick shower, and it suddenly starts to rain, and someone told you to postpone the bath till after the rain as it is dangerous.

The first time I heard of it I thought the person was trying to pull a prank on me. But when I saw how serious the face was, I did hesitate. But I eventually ended up taking that bath. At least if it ends up proving fatal at least, we would have some proof that it is real :)

[image credits: Pixabay Commons]

But if it is so dangerous to take a bath in the bathroom when it is raining, how did I survive the countless time in my childhood when I run around in the rain playing football or any other "water games" that our juvenile senses come up with?

Washing dishes or taking a bath while there's a thunderstorm may not be dangerous as an activity on itself, but rather what comes during such rains- the lightning and thunder.

I don't know if you have ever witnessed damage to an electronic that is turned off but still plugged in during a thunderstorm. You can blame the EMP for that roasted circuit powerboard.

The EMP or electromagnetic pulse is a short burst (transient) electromagnetic interference which can jump across the socket terminal and destroy the electronic device if plugged in. The EMP may be as a result of the fall of a high voltage power line (e.g. a 110kv line) onto the 11kv/415v low voltage line causing a surge in the line. Apart from the falling powerline, the lightning is another huge source of voltage discharge.

The lightning that occurs during a thunderstorm is very hot and understandably so as each bolt of cloud-to-ground lightning has up to a billion volts of electricity.

Lightning could be likened to a giant capacitor. The capacitors have two plates separated by a dielectric. In the case of lightning, the storm cloud in the upper layer of the atmosphere is mostly positively charged while the lower storms become negatively charged. The Earth, including tall trees, mountains, and other objects that is on the ground act as the positively charged "plate" of the lightning.

[image credits: Wikipedia Commons]
You know a potential difference is present when there is an imbalance between the positive and negative terminal- an example is the battery terminal. The next thing that occurs is current to flow which discharges in the form of lightning to the ground.

Now, back to the reason, many are warned not to take their bath during a thunderstorm.

The warning can extend to not just taking a bath; it should contain staying away from any metal such as found in sinks, metal rails or just about anything that can conduct electricity.

The most building still uses galvanised pipes for their plumbings. Those that use PVC pipes still have a point where metal fittings cover some of the PVC pipes.

The electric current is like a lazy guy that may decide to walk across the field rather than follow the designated footpath which is longer. Electricity likes to follow the path of least resistance to the ground; your metallic shower pipe may just be that path. Water is also a conductor of electricity, and you do not want to be in a shower when the strikes occur.

There is an ongoing critic on whether this showering in thunderstorm may indeed be dangerous, but an Australian man from the city of Brisbane learnt the hard way as paramedics had to take him to hospital to treat the injuries sustained from electric shock while in the shower during a severe storm.

Though it is rare to have fatality due to the presence of lightning protection/arrestor, and good earth system which channels this surge current to the ground. The record shows the US experiences up to 25 million lightning strikes per year with only average mortality of about 47 people.

But it is better to err on the side of caution and avoid taking that bath or washing that dish on that metal sink when it is raining. This is especially useful in a country like Nigeria where only about 5 in 100 houses has a functional lightning arrestor, surge suppressor, and a good electrical earthing system.

There you have it, this one story is real and not a myth. If you can postpone that bath during the thunderstorm, please do. Thank you.

Some cool facts: lightning tends to strike more men than women. In 2016, lightning fatalities accounted for 40 deaths in the USA, out of this number 9 are female; a 77.5% of the total victims are men. And this little fun fact has got nothing to do with anything except that men just so happened to be more outdoors than women. If you reverse the trend, the female folks will get as much share of the sparkling monster as the men do.

Unlike a victim of electrocution, you can safely touch a lightning victim. Most victims of lightning have a cardiac/ respiratory arrest due to the massive amounts of current passing through their body. Resuscitation via CPR could help increase the chance of the victim.

It is a myth that you are safe while in a car. The experts say you are only safe if the vehicle is a totally enclosed metal which in effect forms a Faraday cage. But if caught in a car during a thunderstorm, you can increase your chance of survival by placing your hands on your lap and not touch any metallic part of the vehicle with the engine shut off.

[image credits: Wikipedia Commons]

There is an injury found on the body of lightning victims that appears like a weird weblike mark on their body. The lightning injury is known as the Lichtenberg Figures. The reddish "tattoo" is a result of the current that passed through the body during the lightning strike.


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When I heard about this, I whistled every chance I got to check out how much trouble I could get.


At least if it ends up proving fatal at least, we would have some proof that it is real :)

GREEN! Oh my God ..

I am afraid of lightning! When we lived up in the mountains in Chile we had some scary electric storms, if I only knew I am less likely to be stricken by lightning, I would have felt less terrified 😏

It was interesting to learn that one can safely touch victims of lightning, Green. Not that I hope to encounter one ... :P

Thank you :*

Ps: Going to watch France vs. Argetina now. This is all I do on my spare time now Green, watch football games 😂


France is winning by 2 goals- I'm watching too.

The thunderstorms are scary work of nature. We just have to live with it. The mountains and high points sure have more incidents of lightning compared to lower grounds.

My mother is 90 years old and grew up in a rural area. She lives in the city now but she is very afraid of thunder storms. She will not answer the telephone when it is raining because she thinks that she might be electrocuted.
My siblings and I used to call to check on my mother during a storm and we would get concerned if their was no answer. She let us all know that she would not talk on the telephone during a thunderstorm because "God is doing His work." She cuts off the lights, TV and other appliances and gets quiet away from windows.
My mother remembers when people got hurt from lightning when she was a child, so she still doesn't take chances. Thanks for sharing the background behind the myth and the science associated with lightning strikes.


She is a wise woman who does not joke with safety. I like that. One can never be too safe.

Nicely written buddy.
I've been thinking; can't the lightning protector protect against all strikes of lightning?
But then, the massive voltage released during a heavy thunderstorm can break through the barrier.

I'm also wondering; can lightning strike a particular place more than once? If this is so; would it be possible to harness these high voltage and use them for something better? (Maybe to generate electricity).

PS: Is it possible to have a lightning strike without thunderstorm and without even rain falling?

Nice piece buddy


Yes, lightning can strike a place more than once. The Empire state building gets struck up to 23 times a year.
A dry thunderstorm can produce lightning "without" rain since the rain evaporates before it hits the ground.

I love the chronological arrangement of this article...
You actually brought back some of the good old days when we were convinced into believing some sayings that basically do not have a strong backup or explanation. I was actually reading in anticipation to see the explanation as to why we should not bath during thunderstorm, yep I got the reason.
That was really scientific and indeed a fact.

Frankly speaking, I love this. This made my evening @greenrun
Nice one bro 👍


I'm happy you find the article useful. Thanks for taking out time to read it.

When I was in my first year, I felt alone at school, and my brother told me to smile each time lightning flashes, as that was God taking some pictures of me.
I'm not sure I will smile again.
Is the "tattoo" permanent?


It is not permanent
Your brother got a great sense of humour :)

Well I guess it is reality. I've heard a lot of news about human being strike by lighting. It is really dangerous to take a bath or even touch water during storms. Lightings attrack the water because water is a conductor. So once you touch the water and the lighting strikes on it you will consume the energy from the lighting and will cause you to die.


Hello @prettykath24, lightning can be dangerous we all have to take all the precautions at our disposal.

It's the same belief we have. There are other beliefs that is just funny but it just makes you curious and even dared to try if it is true just to prove it. I haven't heard about the whistling at night invites trouble but in our culture you are calling for a snake if you do whistle at night so in a sense that is related. It never happened to me though not matter how long and loud I whistle at night lol!

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Welcome to the world of superstition :)


Haha! I'm not really new to this world of superstition. Maybe a different world of superstition as there are lots of others from place to place.

Hmm very informative article gotta go check if we get those lightning things in our house o


You'd need the services of a qualified electrician. They may be there but not functional.

Part of the reason for more men in the US getting hit by lightning, could be because women have more common sense, after all it is always the yelling "get out of the rain, you'll catch your death of cold". Fathers never tell kids to come in from the rain, and the boy child always replies with "aw mom"..


I think the men just do more outdoor sports or activities such as fishing, which accounts for the majority of the victims caught in the thunderstorms.

Hello @greenrun

What a revelation on lightening and important precautions to observe during rain fall. I have been observing to not hold a metal during lightening, and I do pass the information to those I see around. But to stay away from water as well is something new to me; I just learnt it now. Thanks


@eurogee of @euronation and @steemstem communities


This is especially useful in a country like Nigeria where only about 5 in 100 houses has a functional lightning arrestor, surge suppressor, and a good electrical earthing system.

Very sad statistics for my country. Anyway, is there any need to still take precuation in a house with a functional lightning arrestor?

Also, are there cars that come with this small technology?

I really enjoyed and learned from the post. Nice work @greenrun


Cars do not come with lightning protection. The only help you'd get is if the car is all metal (open roof vehicles and convertibles lack this feature) then the body can form a Faraday cage and offer protection as the body conducts the electricity. You can only remember not to touch anything metallic at that moment by placing your hand on your lap.


Wow! Thanks a lot @greenrun

Where I live, the parents too, and can happen in the rain. But before I did not know the reason people parents forbid their children, now after I read the contents of your post I began to agree with the results of their children's parents. Because before I thought it was just a myth, because I was little and came when the rain came. However, nothing ever happened.

Thank you.

The storm is really dangerous
I do not like it
A very good article published well


Lightning is dangerous. Thank you.

technology can change our life

As always, your post is enlightening!
Good job


Thank you.

Many myths have been broken and a scientific reason with proof thanks for sharing this detailed post very interesting topic to read :) keep sharing

Hi @greenrun!

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Great post hope you check my post and upvote comments :)

I totally agree with u bro.....thanks for sharing this post....pls help me check my blog and comment on my post.....thanks and remain blessed.

This is a very nice nice post.. It sounds more or less like a warning backed up with reasons and facts... Very informative


Fathers never tell kids to come in from the rain, and the boy child always replies with "aw mom"


Thanks for taking out time to read it.

Yh. Another myth from our nigerian parents to keep up behing bay. My parents would also tell me not to stand beside the door when it rains cus the shock from thunder kills.

Hahaha about the night whistling, I was deceived that it brings snakes to ths house. My childhood was indeed awesome. And about taking bath in the rain, or being outside when thunder strikes, I was warned against it. They made me believe that thunder is like a horse and when it enters your body, your eyes and everything will turn to coal. Thanks so much @greenrun for educating us. I still believed that even tho i studied physics in school. I think I missed lectures the day this was discussed in class. Haha

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I just love rain, any type. I use to run out and play even a big woman. Well the stroke stop that, lol.