Video games are lightning risk

June 18, 2009 at 10:23 PM

CHICAGO, June 18 (UPI) -- Most people know to unplug computers to prevent lightning damage but some are injured by lightning using hardwired video games, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Mary Ann Cooper, director of the lightning injury research program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, notes an increasing number of people injured indoors using Play Stations and other such video games.

Cell phones, iPods and other wireless devices do not attract lightning but they may distract people from paying attention to the warning signs of thunder and lightning, especially when being used outside, Cooper says.

People should "continue to keep up their guard about the danger of lightning injury, particularly as lightning activity peaks during the summer months," Cooper says in a statement. "The majority of those injured have been young males during work or recreational activities."

During a thunderstorm, "stay off landline phones, computers and video games," Cooper says. "Wait 30 minutes after the last crack of thunder or flash of lightning before resuming activities."

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