Radiation is energy that is sent out from a source. It can be found in nature. It can also be manmade. Radiation exposure is when a person is exposed. It can affect health, depending on the type and amount.
There are two types:
Ionizing radiation can injure cells. It is linked to cancer and other health problems.
High doses of radiation over a short period of time may cause:
- Hair loss
- Loss of organ function
Low levels may not cause symptoms. Sometimes cancers grow years after exposure. They may be:
- Leukemia and multiple myeloma
- Lung cancer
- Skin cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Breast cancer in women and men
- Stomach cancer
Treatment is based on the dose of exposure, the source, and the symptoms. The goal is to ease symptoms and reduce problems. It may include:
- Removing contaminated materials, such as clothing and shoes
- Showering with soap and warm water
- Taking medicines to:
- Treat pain, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Prevent or treat infection
- Treat contamination inside the body
- Having fluids and electrolytes—to prevent dehydration
- IV nutrition—if food cannot be taken by mouth
- Using ointments for burns and injuries
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Ionizing Radiation Exposure)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov
Radiation Emergency Medical Management https://www.remm.nlm.gov
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Public Health Agency of Canada https://www.canada.ca
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