Treatment of Radiation Sickness

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There is no specific treatment once radiation exposure has occurred. There are ways to help manage the symptoms while the body recovers from the damage already done. This can generally be helpful and supportive during the healing process.

Radiation sickness treatment is aimed at preventing any further contamination radioactively, managing the damage done to the organs, reducing the most severe symptoms, and helping to alleviate the pain.

o Removes external radioactive particles
o Removing of clothing and shoes and external contamination
o Gently washing with warm water and soap removes additional particles from the skin

à At the start of radiation sickness treatment, it can prevent further distribution of radioactive materials and lowers the risk of internal contamination from inhalation, ingestion or open wounds.
Treatment for damaged bone marrow
o Protein- granulocyte-stimulating factor: promotes growth of white blood cells.
o Severe damage to bone marrow- radiation sickness treatment may also include transfusions of red blood cells or blood platelets.
Treatment for internal contamination
o Reduces organ damage
§ Potassium iodide: nonradioactive form of iodine- important for proper thyroid function. Internal contamination with radioactive iodine à thyroid will absorb radio iodine. The radio iodine is eventually cleared from the body in urine.
§ Prussian blue: dye that binds to particles of radioactive elements like cesium and thallium. The radioactive particles are then excreted in feces. This speeds up the elimination of the radioactive particles and reduces the amount of radiation cells may absorb
§ Diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (DTPA): binds to metals-like radioactive elements plutonium, americium and curium. The radioactive particles pass out of the body in urine, thereby reducing the amount of radiation absorbed
Other Supportive Treatments:
Patients suffering from radiation sickness may also receive medications or other interventions to help treat the following:
· Bacterial infections
· Headache
· Fever
· Diarrhea
· Nausea and vomiting
· Dehydration

- Anti-nausea drugs and painkillers can be taken to help relieve symptoms resulting from the sickness itself.
- Antibiotics may also be prescribed if it is necessary to fight of any secondary infections.
- Blood transfusions may also be needed by those patients that are suffering from anemia.

The health problems that are caused by dangerous amounts of radiation exposure can be treated, however, if the person who is exposed to near-fatal amounts survives, they may have lifelong health problems, and an increased risk for developing certain types of cancers.
Medical teams of experienced doctors that specialize in different health areas can work together to treat the different areas of the body that have been damaged and affected by the radiation.
- If the doctors can treat people quickly after radiation crisis, there may be prescription medications that can reduce the chances of developing certain cancers.

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