You will experience exposure to radiation from your birth until death. Heck, nature emits plenty of radiation without our help. This fact, in and of itself, is not a major cause for concern.
What is a concern is ionizing radiation. This type of radiation can strip electrons from atoms, creating two charged ions, or break chemical bonds.
Inhaling, ingesting or direct are the pathways for ionizing radiation exposure. Once exposed, your body attempts to repair any damage. Sometimes the damage cannot be repaired, is too severe, too widespread or cancer cells emerge as a result of natural repair process mistakes.
Sources of radiation that are most likely to cause lethal or potentially negative health effects are generally from:
- nuclear weapons
- nuclear power plants
- cancer radiation treatments
But radiation is also being emitted from stuff like:
- cell phones
- welding rods
- smoke detectors
- electrical power lines
- luminous watch dials
- naturally occurring uranium soils
The greatest amount of man made radiation emission is medical x-rays and nature made is radon, second leading cause of lung cancer. If in doubt, get a radon detector.
Radiation poisoning or sickness is caused by a very large dose of radiation, often over a short period of time. And the amount of radiation absorbed by your body determines how sick you’ll become.
Common exposures to a low dose of radiation, i.e. medical x-rays, do not cause radiation sickness or poisoning.
Without getting to technical, your initial symptoms of radiation sickness are usually nausea and vomiting within the first couple of days. Initial poisoning symptoms can last for minutes or several days, and might come and go.
Mild radiation poisoning symptoms include these initial symptoms plus:
Moving on down the radiation exposure sickness chart to moderate, the aforementioned symptoms are coupled with:
Moderate radiation poisoning can be fatal for a sensitive few.
Symptoms indicative of severe radiation poisoning sickness have these additional health issues:
Severe radiation sickness is fatal about half the time.
Very severe radiation exposure is usually fatal and may cause these added symptoms:
Radiation sickness typically causes some skin damage symptoms, involving:
Radiation sickness may also contribute to psychological disorders, such as:
- small intestine
- multiple myeloma
If you know you’ve had a high level exposure to radiation, seek emergency medical care.
Your chance for survival decreases inversely to radiation dose increase. The common cause of death are infections and internal bleeding due to bone marrow destruction. Should you survive a high radiation exposure, health recovery may take a couple of years.