4 Things Everyone Should Know About Radiation Exposure

You don’t have to work in a hospital or a nuclear power plant to be exposed to radiation. While radiation exposure shouldn’t be something that the average person loses sleep over, there is always a chance you could be exposed to radiation. It is important to know how to reduce your risk, and what side effects might occur in the event of radiation exposure.

Nuclear Shielding

The goal of nuclear shielding is to prevent radiation from penetrating a sensitive object or limit the radiation to a certain area. When you get X-rays taken at the dentist, you wear a lead apron. The lead apron is an example of nuclear shielding, as it prevents the radiation from penetrating the rest of your body. 

Other examples of nuclear shielding are lead walls, and special types of containers used in the transport of radioactive materials. Lead is often used in nuclear shielding because it is incredibly dense. 

People who work with radiation wear protective equipment. Certain jobs require employees to wear tags that help monitor exposure. These tags can tell if the amount of radiation is safe. Talk to companies such as Nuclear Lead Co., Inc. to learn more about products or services you can use to protect yourself or your place of business from radiation.

How to Reduce Radiation Exposure

In the event of a nuclear incident, where the public could be exposed to radiation, there are some steps you can take to reduce your exposure. 

  1. Go to the center of the building you are in. The walls of the building are likely to absorb much of the radiation, but staying as far away from outside walls will keep you at a safer distance. 
  2. If you are in a vehicle, get inside a building immediately. A vehicle will not protect you in the same way as the walls of a building will. Once in the building, make your way to the center, away from walls and windows.
  3. Use a mask or another type of material to cover your nose and mouth. This will reduce the amount of radioactive material you breathe into your body. 
  4. If you have been exposed to radiation, remove your clothing, wash yourself, and put on new clothing. 
  5. In the event of an emergency where the public has possibly been exposed, officials will alert you when it is safe to emerge from the building. The time will range, but plan on at least 24 hours. Radiation does weaken with time.

Short Term Exposure Risks

If you have been exposed to a low dose of radiation, there is a chance that you will acquire Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS). This is also known as radiation poisoning. You may experience nausea, vomiting, headache, and diarrhea. You could notice symptoms within hours or days. 

If you have been exposed to a high dose of radiation, your blood cells may start to die. You may need blood transfusions and antibiotics. You may also have burns on your body that appear similar to a sunburn. 

A very high dose of radiation exposure will be fatal, and death will likely occur quickly. 

Long Term Exposure Risks

In the long term, exposure to radiation can cause cancer or genetic mutations. The more exposure a person has had to radiation, the higher the risk of developing cancer at a later stage in life.  

Author: Emma Days

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