DefinitionRadiation poisoning is damage of tissues due to exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation. Even though the radiation may lead to acute and chronic symptoms the very term radiation poisoning refers to acute symptoms and signs in case of exposure to excessive doses of radiation. The condition develops as a consequence of nuclear catastrophes and individual exposure to radioactive substances which may happen to all those who are working with radioactive substances.
Symptoms of Acute radiation PoisoningThe leading symptoms of acute poisoning are nausea and vomiting. The time frame between exposure and first signs of the poisoning may indicate the level of radiation to which a person was exposed. In case of high doses the symptoms develop rapidly. The condition may only start with these two symptoms but the rest of them will occur very soon. They includes headache, tiredness and exhaustion. Mild exposures can lead to increased body temperature progressive loss of hair and infections. Not all of these develop at once. They occur gradually. Blood in stool and vomiting of blood develop in case of higher doses of radiation.
Cutaneous radiation syndrome presents with specific skin changes. Some forms of radiation may cause damage only to the skin without further spread into the body. The skin is affected if one who is working with radioactive substances gets into direct contact with the source of radiation or in case that clothes is contamined. The skin is in the beginning erythematous. Both forms of desquamations, dry and moist may occur. Blisters and ulcers are present as well if one has been exposed to high doses of radiation. The skin structures such as hair, follicles, skin glands etc. may be damaged for good and there is a chance of serious skin atrophy. The worst thing that can happen is necrosis of skin.
Symptoms of Chronic Radiation Poisoning
The chronic exposure to radiation leads to damage of tissues but this develops slowly within years. Chronic poisoning is rather rare as all the people who are working with radioactive substances are well protected and are examined regularly by doctors. Chronic exposure may lead to problems with blood cells. Also people who are exposed to chronic radiation are at higher risk of developing certain forms of cancers such as leukemias and lymphomas.