Poisoning, also known as radiation sickness, is any damage to an organ or tissue due to unprotected or
excessive exposure to ionizing radiation leading to an interference with cell division – the
process in reproduction and growth by which a parent cell divides into two or more
In general, there are two types of radiation poisoning:
Syndrome (ARS): a serious illness caused by a
short term exposure to high amounts of ionizing
radiation. The condition
usually occurs within several months of exposure.
Syndrome (CRS): This is also a
serious medical condition that occurs in people after a long term
exposure to radiation. This form of radiation sickness is very uncommon.
The type of symptoms experienced the patients depends largely on
the dose of radiation exposure. For instance, low doses tend to lead to development of gastrointestinal effects
such as nausea and vomiting and symptoms related to decreased blood counts: infection, bleeding and others. Larger
doses, in the other hand, often result in neurological effects and sometimes rapid and painful death. Radiation
exposure can also increase the risk for different types of cancers; however these diseases are not included in the
term radiation sickness. Treatment most often used to treatment acute radiation syndrome consists mostly of blood
transfusions and antibiotics.
Common Sources of Radiation
Nuclear warfare is one of the primary sources of radiation poisoning. Heat
radiation from nuclear war causes thermal burns. The fallout from a nuclear explosion can cause Beta Burns. The
Gamma Rays from a nuclear explosion cause gamma radiation. The gamma radiation is the most harmful of all the
effects of a nuclear explosion.
Nuclear reactors are also another cause of radiation sickness. Accidents in
nuclear reactors and accidental exposure to radioactive material can often cause radiation sickness among the
workers in nuclear reactors.
Improper handling or disposal of radioactive material and devices can also
lead to radiation poisoning.
Gamma rays are more penetrating as compared to the alpha and beta particles.
When these gamma rays penetrate the human body, one can see the symptoms of radiation poisoning. This is called
What are the Symptoms of Radiation Poisoning?
If you suffer from radiation poisoning
you will develop at least of the following symptoms:
Decreased red blood cells.
Decreased white blood cells.
Sterility (in both males as well as in
Uncontrollable bleeding in the mouth, under the skin and in the
Destruction of bone marrow cells.
Damage of Gastric and Intestinal Tissue. Intestinal
Can You Prevent Radiation Poisoning?
Yes. The following methods can help you prevent this serious
Avoid Radiation Exposure - The longer a person is exposed to radiation,
greater the risk of radiation sickness.
Stay Away from radioactive substance - The more away you stay from the
radioactive substance, the lower risk of exposure you face.
Using Shields – if you work with radioactive materials always wear protective
clothing. Apart from that, it is also said that radiation can be reduced by placing a layer of material between
the source of radiation and the human being. The material, however, must be such that it absorbs the radiation.
This is why nuclear fallout shelters have been constructed out of thick stone
It is important to know that not all radiation is bad. In fact, radiation is now used
as both cancer treatment and prevention (radiation therapy). The fact that radiation therapy is capable of
preventing cell division, it is used to treat cancer which manifests by uncontrolled cells division. In short,
cancer radiation therapy work by preventing the growth and spread of cancer cells in the