Phones Don't Attract Lighting, They Just Make Getting Struck By It Worse

There have been lots of (very sketchy) stories about cell phones “attracting” lightning, with it appearing to be a particular problem at the Great Wall of China for some reason. Now, British doctors are warning — in all seriousness — that people shouldn’t use mobile phones outside during thunderstorms. Not because they attract lightning, but because should a person be struck by lightning while carrying one, it (or any other metal object) could harmfully change how the current is directed through their body. The doctors looked into the matter after a girl in London was struck by lightning while on her phone and received serious injuries, and found three other similar cases where people died. So a tiny number of the already low number of people that get struck by lightning — the chances seem pretty remote, but perhaps you should add phones to golf clubs, flagpoles and javelins on the list of things not to hold over your head during a thunderstorm. Update: Of course, that won’t stop the press from still claiming that this means mobile phones attract lightning.

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