Radiation injuries and illnesses are rare. Much of the information that we have gained stems from epidemiologic studies of nuclear incidents, two of which marked the history of the U.S...
Patients contaminated with radiation pose very little risk to health care providers when
appropriate precautions and decontamination procedures are employed.
For nuclear power plant accidents, the major exposure for the public would come from radioactive isotopes, and there already are some approved drugs for these that are in the federal stockpile. The drugs being developed by the biotech companies would probably not reduce the long-term risk of cancer after radiation exposure. They are aimed more at treating what is called acute radiation syndrome.
During nuclear fallout, doses reach the equivalent of 3 million chest x-rays.
Must be administered systemically to be toxic (ingestion, inhalation or injection).
The effects of radiation exposure on specific tissues varies. Tragic consequences can result, ranging from severe, acute injury to long- lasting effects that present years after the initial exposure.
Provide guidance for health care providers, primarily physicians, about clinical diagnosis and treatment of radiation injury during radiological and nuclear emergencies
Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) (sometimes known as radiation toxicity or radiation sickness) is an acute illness caused by irradiation of the entire body (or most of the body) by a high dose of penetrating radiation in a very short period of time (usually a matter of minutes).
Radiation sickness describes the harmful effects–acute, delayed, or chronic–produced by exposure to ionizing radiation. An observable effect due to radiation exposure becomes quite certain after a single dose of several hundred rads. As a rule, large doses of radiation are of concern because of their immediate effects on the body (somatic), while low doses are of concern because of the potential for possible late somatic and long-term genetic effects. The effects of radiation exposure on an individual are cumulative.
The form of acute radiation syndrome, resulting from whole or partial body exposure with significantly nonuniform distribution of the dose, is described as a combination of bone marrow syndrome with cutaneous syndrome.