A large amount of radiation that a body receives during a short period of time can cause a radiation sickness. There are a few terms for radiation sickness, such as acute radiation syndrome or radiation poisoning. There are radioactive waves all around us, but X-rays and CT examinations are not harmful to our bodies.
There were recorded cases of radiation sickness after the nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and after the nuclear disaster in the nuclear power station in Ukraine in 1986.
The unit according to which radiation is measured, is called gray (Gy). People tested on radiation from X-rays have under 0.1 Gy. In order to be sick from radiation, one would have to be radiated 1 Gy.
First symptoms of radiation exposure are sickness and vomiting. After that, new and more severe signs appear. If the radiation exposure is greater, then the symptoms would be more severe. If some kind of a nuclear disaster happens in your area, you should follow the updates, and listen to emergency instructions. Things that may cause a high dose of radiation are nuclear accidents, an attack on the nuclear facility, detonation of a radioactive device, detonation of the so-called dirty bomb and detonation of a nuclear weapon. If a person was exposed to radiation, then a number of steps must be conducted. The information about the absorbed dose is crucial in order to determine how much the illness has progressed. Doctors and experts should know the source of radiation and they should monitor the whole body so that they could do the necessary tests. Medical device that measures the dose of radiation in the radiated person is called dosimeter.
The treatment of radiation sickness depends on the dose of radiation exposure. The removal of the external radioactive particles is called decontamination. The removal of clothes and shoes eliminates 90% of radioactive contamination. After that has been done, a person should wash gently with water. If the bone marrow is damaged, there is a possibility for treatment. Other treatments may decrease further damage of internal organs (potassium iodide, Prussian blue and Diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA).
If a person was exposed to radiation, the immune system will be weakened. Due to that, the person will be liable to other conditions such as bacterial infections, headaches and other symptoms. If a person has more than 6 Gy dose of radiation, then it means death within a few days or weeks. The person can be given pain control medications only.