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What are the symptoms of radiation poisoning

Radiation remains present in various industries, such as the medical or nuclear power plant. It can also spread to multiple houses nearby from these locations if the radiation is not properly contained. Unfortunately, radiation can be dangerous in higher dosages. 

They often occur when an atomic nucleus of an unstable atom gets destroyed and released tiny particles. When these particles come into contact with human tissue, they can cause new damage. Particles with a high enough frequency can cause severe issues such as G.I. problems, central nervous system issues, cardiovascular problems, burns, cancer, or even death. Normally, radiation doesn’t create a lot of problems at extremely low dosage, but at high dosage, it can lead to radiation poisoning. At Med-Pro, we are dedicated to providing you with safe and effective radiation badges to help you avoid radiation poisoning. If you’re feeling any of the following symptoms, it’s best to see your doctor.

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What is radiation poisoning

Radiation poisoning, or radiation sickness, happens when a radioactive substance releases particles that infiltrate a person’s body systems to cause adverse health effects. Different radioactive substances can harm people in different ways depending on the amount and the person’s overall health.

Whether or not it’s dangerous depends on the strength of the overall radiation, how it’s used, types of exposure, how often the person is exposed, and the duration of exposure. One example is a person at the doctor’s office getting an x-ray exam. When you get an x-ray exam, you often wear a lead apron to prevent x-ray particles from getting to your body. To protect themselves, technicians will often leave the room when they take x-ray pictures. Small doses usually don’t cause a lot of harm, but repeated small doses can result in complications.

How much radiation is dangerous

Below 30 rad will yield mild symptoms, but with 30 to 200 Rads, an individual can become ill. 200 to 1000 rads, the person will be severely sick, and anything over 1000 rads can be fatal. 

According to the CDC, a patient can be diagnosed with radiation sickness if they:

  • Receive over 70 rads from any sources outside the body
  • The dose affects the whole body and penetrates to the internal organs, or
  • The dose is given in a short period, like within minutes.

Symptoms of radiation poisoning

Radiation poisoning has symptoms such as loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, headache, rapid heartbeat, malaise, and much more. If the dosage is below low as 30 rads, it can lead to a decrease in the white blood cells, headaches, nausea, and vomiting. Dosage over 300 rads results in the damage of nerve cells, hair loss, and damage to the cells lining the G.I. tract.

Stages of radiation sickness

When it comes to symptoms of radiation, it normally passes through four stages. The prodromal stage has symptoms of vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea that last for a few minutes to a couple of days. The latent stage contains signs that go on and off intermittently. The overt stage depends on the type of exposure, but it could lead to severe G.I. problems, cardiovascular issues, CNS problems, and hematopoietic issues. Recovering from radiation sickness often occurs gradually, but if you do not take measures to keep it in check, radiation sickness can be fatal and can lead to death.

Different doses have different effects

The risk of getting sick depends on the dosage of radiation. Keep in mind that low dosage of these particles are often around us on a daily basis, but they don’t cause any harm because they are extremely low. 

If the whole body is exposed to 1000 rads in a short period, the ensuing radiation sickness can be fatal. However, the higher dosage can be applied to a small area of the body, which can result in a lower percentage of risk. With a mild dose, an individual may experience some symptoms for a couple of days. However, repeated exposure to small doses can produce an accumulation of signs over a long period. An individual exposed to over 3000 rad will get nausea and vomiting and may have a loss of consciousness and confusion for a couple of hours. If that individual is exposed to such a high level for 5 to 6 hours, they may have tremors and convulsions. If they continue to have over 3000 rads for over three days, death may occur. 

Anybody who experiences repeated exposure to radiation may have long-term effects such as loss of white blood cells (makes it difficult for the body to fight off infections), reduce platelets (can lead to easy bleeding), infertility, kidney failure (can lead to high blood pressure and anemia), skin redness, heart problems, and cataracts. Continued long-term exposure may lead to skin change, loss, and skin cancer. Keep in mind that radiation exposure to specific body parts like the intestine may be more deadly than other areas. Once radiation causes severe damage to the cells, it is often irreversible.

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What are the sources of radiation

There are various sources of radiation, such as nuclear power plants, the medical industry, or towers. Most people get an average of .62 rads per year. Half of this radiation originates from the air, whereas the other half comes from different places. 

You can get radiation from a chest x-ray, mammogram, PET, CT scan, and plenty more. Nuclear medicine often targets the thyroid gland, leading to a thyroid disorder. Living in high-altitudes, such as Colorado and New Mexico, can increase your exposure. 

Radon gas and certain foods and water we drink can also emit .03 rads per year. Other places of exposure are flying in an airplane, watching TV, using a microwave, passing through a security scanner, or using the cell phone. Smoking also emits a higher exposure of radiation than a non-smoker. 

How to prevent radiation poisoning

Cells damage by radiation is usually irreversible because damaged cells cannot repair themselves. That is why it’s important to know preventative strategies to protect yourself from exposure. To avoid receiving a high dosage of radiation, you should rinse yourself with water and soap, remove all clothing after going to a radiation-heavy facility, and use potassium iodide to block radiation uptake. Prussian blue can trap Thallium and Cesium in the intestine so they don’t get absorbed, and Neupogen can elevate white blood cell count.


If you work in a nuclear power plant or particular areas in the hospital, you may be exposed to high levels of radiation. Constant exposure can lead to various symptoms of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, G.I. issues, kidney failure, heart failure, and much more. As the dosage increases, the symptoms can be more severe. It could eventually lead to death or a coma. That is why it’s essential to recognize these early symptoms of radiation sickness or radiation poisoning so you can get help immediately.

With all the information that we have provided, we hope you understand the symptoms of radiation poisoning. If you manage a facility with high doses of radiation, look through our selection of radiation badges for your employees. Improve the health of your facility for your employees with Med-Pro.

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