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Radiation sickness

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Radiation Sickness

Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as x-rays or radioactive substances


Nausea, hair loss, fatigue, blistering of skin

Mortality Rate



Adrenaline, fluids, palliative care

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Radiation sickness or more properly acute radiation syndrome is the result of exposure to high energy radiation that is typical of x-rays, particle accelerators and highly radioactive substances. It is a common side effect of radiation therapy, and often affects workers in industries where high-energy radiation is common, such as radiologists and their assistants and those who work in nuclear power.

Unlike a burn, radiation does not leave any immediate sign of trauma, and symptoms may not show up for hours or days after exposure. However, they progress rapidly afterwards, and the blistering is similar to that suffered by extreme burn patients.

The most effective treatment is to treat the symptoms, keep the patient comfortable, replace fluids as they are lost and allow the body to repair itself. Skin grafts are commonly used. In addition, patients usually find themselves immunocompromised as the bone marrow, which produces white blood cells, is very sensitive to radiation exposure.

Acute radiation syndrome at Wikipedia

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