People are exposed to radiation on a daily basis, but the degree of exposure can reach an unsafe level depending on the amount and type of radiation. Minor symptoms include skin irritation, but if exposure is severe, people can develop cancer or die. The first signs of too much exposure include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fever. It is the job of public health officials to measure radiation levels at unsafe sources, monitor nuclear safety, and create an emergency plan for public safety. In the event of a threat, laboratory tests must be conducted to detect and confirm the hazard. This includes examining samples of food, water, or anything else that may have been exposed to the radiation.
While there are a variety of places and ways that people can be exposed to radiation, some areas are more common than others. These sources include nuclear power plants, certain technology used in hospitals or other industries, and radon. Radiation levels in these sources must be monitored at all times and exposure to these potential hazards should be minimal. While all types of exposure is dangerous, the most deadly is any form of internal exposure. This is why during times of crisis, food and water sources should be avoided since there is a high change of contamination. It is difficult to treat internal exposure, but there are steps that can be taken to remove external radiation exposure.
In the event of a radiation emergency, decontamination is the first step in the procedure. Contaminated clothes should be removed and left outside to avoid moving the radiation indoors. Body and hair should be thoroughly washed to decontaminate skin. Next, people should prepare to shelter in place, and seal home from outside air. Stay up to date with developing news and listen to what local authorities instruct the public to follow. Safety comes first, so follow any and all steps to prevent serious effects in the case of a health emergency.