Radiation damages the cells that make up the human body. Low levels of radiation are not dangerous, but medium levels can lead to sickness, headaches, vomiting and a fever. High levels can kill you by causing damage to your internal organs. It's difficult to treat high radiation exposure.
In this manner, how does radiation affect the human body?
This shakes things up all over the body. Let's do a head-to-toe walk-through to investigate how high doses of radiation can damage the human body. BRAIN: Nerve cells (neurons) and brain blood vessels can die, leading to seizures. EYES: Radiation exposure increases the risk of cataracts.
Ionising radiation includes both electromagnetic sources, such as X-rays and gamma rays, and particles, such as alpha and beta particles. Naturally occurring radon gas, for example, emits alpha particles. Ionising radiation can cause burns, radiation sickness, and cancer.
In other words, not only is there a threshold for radiation exposure – a limit below which radiation should not be harmful– but at certain low levels ionizing radiation may do more good for your cells than harm. The idea that a low dose of a bad thing can have good effects is called hormesis.
Average Natural Background: 300 Millirems. The average exposure in the United States, from natural sources of radiation (mostly cosmic radiation and radon), is 300 millirems per year at sea level. Radiation exposure is slightly higher at higher elevations-thus the exposure in Denver averages 400 millirems per year.
The severity of ARS symptoms depends on the level of exposure. A radiation dose as low as 0.35 Gy could feel a bit like you have the flu—expect nausea and vomiting, headaches, fatigue, and fever. If the body is exposed to a higher dose, somewhere between 1-4 Gy, blood cells begin to die.
Ionizing radiation happens when the atomic nucleus of an unstable atom decays and starts releasing ionizing particles. When these particles come into contact with organic material, such as human tissue, they will damage them if levels are high enough, in a short period of time.
Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun can lead to melanoma and other skin malignancies. Clear evidence establishes ultraviolet radiation, especially the non-ionizing medium wave UVB, as the cause of most non-melanoma skin cancers, which are the most common forms of cancer in the world.
Is Radiation Therapy Safe. Some patients worry about the safety of radiation therapy. Radiation has been used successfully to treat patients for more than 100 years. In that time, many advances have been made to ensure that radiation therapy is safe and effective.
Natural sources of background radiation include:
- Cosmic rays - radiation that reaches the Earth from space.
- Rocks and soil - some rocks are radioactive and give off radioactive radon gas.
- Living things - plants absorb radioactive materials from the soil and these pass up the food chain.
Symptoms of radiation sickness may include:
- Weakness, fatigue, fainting, confusion.
- Bleeding from the nose, mouth, gums, and rectum.
- Bruising, skin burns, open sores on the skin, sloughing of skin.
- Diarrhea, bloody stool.
- Hair loss.
- Inflammation of exposed areas (redness, tenderness, swelling, bleeding)
Radiation can damage the DNA in the cells of living things. Damaged DNA can make the cell stop working or unable to reproduce. It can also cause the cell to grow out of control, causing cancer.
This exposure primarily comes from cosmic rays, radioactive material in the earth (such as uranium-238), ingestion of naturally occurring radionuclides in food (such as potassium- 40), and inhalation of radon gas. In the United States, the average background radiation dose is 300 mrem/yr.
Use Time Distance and Shielding to Protect Yourself. Putting distance and shielding between you and a radiation source is an immediately effective way of reducing your exposure. Reducing the time you are being exposed is another way. Use a Respirator or Face Mask if You are exposed to airborne sources.
Late side effects, such as lung or heart problems, may take years to show up and are often permanent when they do. The most common early side effects are fatigue and skin problems. You might get others, such as hair loss and nausea, depending on where you get radiation.
Radiation therapy isn't painful, but some of the side effects it causes can be. For instance, if you are getting radiation to the head and neck area, you might have a sore throat, trouble swallowing, or mouth sores. These can hurt. Pain is not part of cancer treatment.
Fallout is the radioactive particles that fall to earth as a result of a nuclear explosion. It consists of weapon debris, fission products, and, in the case of a ground burst, radiated soil.
High doses of radiation therapy are used to destroy cancer cells. Side effects occur because radiation therapy can also damage healthy cells and tissues near the treatment area. For some people, radiation therapy causes few or no side effects.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy particles or waves, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams, or protons, to destroy or damage cancer cells. But cancer cells grow and divide faster than most normal cells. Radiation works by making small breaks in the DNA inside cells.
Medical Uses. Hospitals, doctors, and dentists use a variety of nuclear materials and procedures to diagnose, monitor, and treat a wide assortment of metabolic processes and medical conditions in humans. In fact, diagnostic x-rays or radiation therapy have been administered to about 7 out of every 10 Americans.
Radiation and Nuclear Health Hazards. In reality, the word radiation refers to any transfer of energy through space from a source. Some examples of radiation include sunlight, radio waves, x-rays, heat, alpha, beta, gamma ionizing radiation, and infrared, just to name a few.