Not that the risk of radiation poisoning is something that can happen every day, but learning how to save yourself from radiation poisoning can be a lifesaver if the need arises. There have been various nuclear disasters around the world such as Chernobyl, three-mile island, and Fukushima, just to name a few of the most famous. But it’s not just nuclear power plant disasters that can cause radiation poisoning, it could be part of your job. For example, working for the government many years ago people worked in uranium mines and didn’t understand the full danger of radiation. In fact, there is even a healthcare company, UEW Healthcare Home Care, that deals specifically with people that worked at a covered Department of Energy facility, atomic weapons facility, or a beryllium vendor. They deal with all the health issues from when we didn’t fully understand the dangers or radiation. In the early 1900s, they used to coat watch faces with radium, a radioactive substance, and some of these watches can still be found today. The watches themselves are not a large danger, but the people that used to work in the watch Factory painting on the radium, consumed extremely unhealthy quantities of radiation which caused health problems. In 1995 there was even a boy scout that tried to make a nuclear reactor by using everyday materials that he collected that contain radioactive materials, such as smoke detectors, clocks, and other items. He managed to give himself radiation poisoning and if he had continued, he could have to give radiation poisoning to his whole town of 40,000 people. Needless to say, this is a unique example, but it is to highlight the fact that we never know what can happen.
If you have any doubt or thought that you might have radiation poisoning, the first thing you should do is get to a hospital and talk to a doctor. This is not something you want to treat yourself. Here are some more things to know.
It was suggested at one point that anyone that lives near a nuclear power plant should have Potassium Iodide pills. The thyroid absorbs radioactive iodine, so taking a non-radioactive source of iodine can saturate the thyroid and help it not acquire the radioactive variety. However, do not take them unless directed by your doctor or an emergency health agency. This would only be a temporary measure to allow you to take less damage as you leave the area.
Get it off you
If you were around radioactive substances, or outdoors when a disaster happens. Get out of your clothes and into a shower and wash off thoroughly, put on fresh clothes and get out of the area as fast as you can.
Get away from it
Get away from the problem, the further you are away from nuclear radiation the weaker it becomes. Get away from whatever it is that is causing the problem.
Get FAR away from it
After you are away from the immediate problem, get away from the whole area. Leave the city and get some real distance between you and the problem, as depending on the size of the disaster, the winds can also carry a lot of radioactive particles.
If you can’t get far away
Stay inside, and keep the windows and curtains closed, stay in an inner room. Make sure you can get as much shielding as you can between you and what is outside. Even newspaper can help stop alpha particles. Don’t eat anything that isn’t in your house already, and then preferably canned. Don’t eat fresh vegetables or anything grown in the area, and that includes milk from animals. They have the highest probability of carrying more radioactivity to you.
Pay attention to exposure time and also when the symptoms start, as it will help your doctor know the extent of the radiation poisoning. Your skin, depending on the radiation dosage, can react almost immediately with redness, rash, and burning. Your stomach can react in as little as 10 minutes. The symptoms can be similar to serious stomach flu, then adding hair loss and infections for a very serious exposure. The best advice is to get to a doctor immediately.
We hope that you never have to deal with any of these things in the future, and as rare as they are, you probably never will have to, but it is important to know how to respond, just in case. There are many treatments you can read about online. Remember, 2 minutes of information can save years of life.