URL of this page: https://medlineplus.gov/radiationemergencies.html

Radiation Emergencies

Summary

Radiation is a type of energy. People are exposed to small amounts of radiation every day from sources such as sunlight. A radiation emergency would involve larger amounts of radiation and could be caused by

  • Dirty bombs - a mix of explosives with radioactive powder
  • Fallout from a nuclear bomb
  • Accidental release from a nuclear reactor or a nuclear weapons plant

A lot of radiation over a short period can cause burns or radiation sickness. If the exposure is large enough, it can cause premature aging or even death.

Although there are no guarantees of safety during a radiation emergency, you can take actions to protect yourself. You should have a disaster plan. Being prepared can help reduce fear, anxiety and losses. If you do experience a disaster, it is normal to feel stressed. You may need help in finding ways to cope.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.