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 exams, 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.
Sept. 29, 2015
- Goldman L, et al., eds. Radiation injury. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 12, 2015.
- Marx JA, et al., eds. Radiation injury. In: Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 12, 2015.
- Radiation exposure and contamination. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/injuries_poisoning/radiation_exposure_and_contamination/radiation_exposure_and_contamination. Accessed Aug. 12, 2015.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Biologic effects of radiation on children. In: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 12, 2015.
- Lee CI, et al. Radiation-related risks of imaging studies. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.
- Dainiak N. Biology and clinical features of radiation injury in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.
- Wingard JR, et al. Treatment of radiation injury in the adult. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 27, 2015.
- Radiation emergencies. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.
- Hofer M, et al. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor in the treatment of acute radiation syndrome: A concise review. Molecules. 2014;19:4770.