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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 March, 2005, 05:20 GMT 06:20 UK
Odd accidents affect one million
Lightning strike
In total 54 people were hit by lightning in 2004
A range of bizarre accidents including melting pyjamas and an alligator attack landed almost one million Britons in hospital last year, figures show.

Volcanic eruptions, lightning strikes, rat bites and centipede stings caused some of the more unusual injuries listed by the Department of Health.

The most common cause of injury was falling, which resulted in 119,203 Accident and Emergency admissions.

Accidents cost the National Health Service an estimated 1bn a year.

Lightning strikes

Dogs were the main predators on humans with 3,508 bite victims.

Other bites meriting a trip to A&E included 451 hornet stings, 46 venomous snake and lizard bites and 24 rat bites.

Another 15 people were reportedly injured by contact with a marine mammal.

One person was attacked by an alligator, while centipedes were responsible for two people taking a trip to A&E.

Hundreds more were injured by natural hazards, with 54 people being struck by lightning and 37 falling victim to "volcanic eruption".

A further 25 people requiring treatment for "cataclysmic storms", 12 suffered from avalanches and seven were victims of earthquakes.

A further 107 were exposed to "unspecified forces of nature".

Ice skates

More unusual injuries included four victims of exposure to noise, four of vibration and 40 from contact with a high-pressure jet.

Stray cigarettes and faulty electric blankets were the likely causes of 22 incidents involving the "ignition or melting of nightwear".

Falls from stairs and steps accounted for 24,475 admissions, 12,042 involved the bed, 7,114 a chair and 4,533 resulted from ice skates, roller skates, skis or skateboards.

Some of the listed accidents took place abroad which then led to hospital treatment back home.

The definitions for the admissions were devised by the World Health Organisation.

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