Radiation is the energy released from atoms as either a wave or a tiny particle of matter. Radiation sickness is caused by exposure to a high dose of radiation, such as a high dose of radiation received during an industrial accident. Common exposures to low-dose radiation, such as X-ray examinations, don't cause radiation sickness.
Sources of high-dose radiation
Possible sources of high-dose radiation include the following:
- An accident at a nuclear industrial facility
- An attack on a nuclear industrial facility
- Detonation of a small radioactive device
- Detonation of a conventional explosive device that disperses radioactive material (dirty bomb)
- Detonation of a standard nuclear weapon
Radiation sickness occurs when high-energy radiation damages or destroys certain cells in your body. Regions of the body most vulnerable to high-energy radiation are cells in the lining of your intestinal tract, including your stomach, and the blood cell-producing cells of bone marrow.
Oct. 06, 2012
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed June 5, 2012.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-
- 323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed June 5, 2012..
- Radiation exposure and contamination. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/radiation_exposure_and_contamination/radiation_exposure_and_contamination.html?qt=radiation%20exposure&alt=sh. Accessed June 5, 2012.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed June 5, 2012.
- Lin EC. Radiation risk from medical imaging. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2010;85:2042.
- Christodouleas JP, et al. Short-term and long-term health risks of nuclear-power-plant accidents. New England Journal of Medicine. 2011;364:2334.
- Cardis E, et al. The Chernobyl accident — An epidemiological perspective. Clinical Oncology. 2011;23:251.
- Radiation emergencies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/. Accessed June 5, 2012.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.