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Physical and Mental Injuries from IED Blasts

What are the physical and mental injuries from IED (improved explosive device) blasts? The IED is among the most deadly and dangerous weapons of all time. Unfortunately, it’s a common tool of war in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Africa and other parts of the world today.

Physical and Mental Injuries from IED Blasts

IED-Seeking-Dogs-Save-LivesDogs are trained to seek and find IEDs to save lives. An improved explosive device is an over-pressurized container that’s exploded in a confined space such as a building or large vehicle.

The physical and mental injuries from IED blasts to the extent of death and injury it causes are determined by what kinds of materials are used and in what quantities, the delivery method, what’s in the surrounding environment, and the distance between the victim and the blast.

It can be filled with dangerous substances such as petroleum, gunpowder, nitroglycerine, diesel fuel and biochemical agents.

Modified IEDs

Sometimes, IEDs are modified from mass-produced weaponry and sometimes they’re homemade. Terrorists have been known to use whatever is available to cause mass destruction.

The injuries caused by these devices often are life-threatening and “multiple-system,” or they affect more than one bodily function.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, IED injuries can be categorized by whether the victim was injured by a pressure wave from the blast, by flying debris, being thrown from the blast, or from such things as burns, being crushed by a falling object, and respiratory problems.

Blast Lung

Pressure injuries are those where gas-filled parts of the body such as lungs, intestines and ears are affected by the wave of gases released in the exposition. “Blast lung” can result in breathing difficulty, chest pain and coughing caused by pressure and lack of oxygen.

The explosions also can rupture the ear and cause hearing loss, abdominal bleeding, eye rupture and traumatic brain injury.

Secondary injuries, caused by flying debris and bomb fragments, are blunt injuries where a body part is penetrated or hit.

Multiple Injuries from IEDs

When people are thrown by the blast, they can have fractured skulls and bones, and their injuries can result in amputations of the legs or arms. They also can suffer brain injuries.

Other injuries associated with improvised explosive devices include illnesses such as asthma and chronic pulmonary obstructive disease from breathing in dust, smoke and toxic fumes, burns, and hypertension.

Many of these physical injuries will be long-lasting and require years of treatment. But the mental and psychological harm can be just as severe.

Johns Hopkins University did autopsy studies of blast victims that showed they had broken and swollen nerve fibers in certain regions of the brain. These were the parts of the brain that controlled decision-making, reasoning and memory.

IEDs Can Cause PTSD, TBI

Other studies have shown that survivors of blasts have high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and other types of anxiety disorders.

These explosions are loud, violent, sudden and terrifying so it’s no wonder that both the physical and mental consequences are severe.

If you are a civilian contractor being sent to a war zone, you’re at risk of being near improvised explosive devices.

Know the risks and your rights to help if you’re wounded. The Defense Base Act Law was created to protect all wounded warriors.