Radiation Disease: Symptoms and Effects of Radiation


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Radiation disease is the result of excessive exposure to radiation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, acute radiation syndrome (ARS) causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea within a few minutes or days of the exposure. The sickness comes in waves for a few weeks or even months. Most with acute radiation syndrome have signs from exposure on their skin, including swelling, itching, and redness, and hair loss may also occur. Unlike other illnesses that work out on their own or with the aid of medicine radiation disease can literally last for years. As it causes damage to the cells on a molecular level, the repair necessary to eliminate all of the symptoms of this disease takes a lot of time. A lot.

So what causes this? When people think of “radiation” they often think of a catastrophic event. However, radiation disease can be caused by things in our daily lives. Radiation is commonly used in medicine, in small doses for X-Rays and larger doses to kill cancerous cells, and CAT scans and PET scans also utilize radioactive dyes. In addition to this, living at higher altitudes where you’re not privy to the full protection of the Earth’s atmosphere, can also expose you to radiation, as can flying.

Radiation disease can also be caused by living near nuclear power plants or nearby where radiation testing was done, either recently or even decades beforehand. Of course, working in these areas can also substantially up your exposure.

Radiation disease is certainly serious, and the fact that you don’t need to be “attacked” in order to get it can be a bit frightening. By taking every precaution to lower your exposure, you can be saving your body from untold damage.