Radiation Issues In Nuclear Blasts

Radiation Issues In Nuclear Blasts- Part 2, by Dr. Bones of doomandbloom.net – Survival Blog

This is the second part of this article on radiation issues in nuclear blasts. We’ve defined radiation and various types of bombs as well as radiation’s effects on living things. Today, we’ll look at what we can do to prepare for radiation exposure, treat its effects, and more.

Radiation Sickness

The medical effects of exposure are collectively known as “radiation sickness” or “Acute Radiation Syndrome”. A certain amount of radiation exposure is tolerable over time, but your goal should be to shelter your group as much as possible.

Terms For Measuring Quantities of Radiation

To accomplish this goal, we should first clarify what the different terms for measuring the quantities of radiation mean. Scientists use terms such as RADS, REMS, SIEVERTS, GRAYS, BECQUERELS, or CURIES to describe radiation amounts. Different terms are used when describing the amount of radiation being given off by a source, the total amount of radiation that is actually absorbed by a human or animal, or the chance that a living thing will suffer health damage from exposure:

  • BECQUERELS/CURIES – these terms describe the amount of radiation that, say, a hunk of uranium gives off into the environment. These measurements are named after scientists who were the first to work with (and die from) radioactivity.
  • RADS – the amount of the radiation in the environment that is actually absorbed by a living thing.
  • REMS/SIEVERTS/GRAYS – the measurement of the risks of health damage from the radiation absorbed.

This is somewhat confusing. So, for our purposes, let’s use RADS. A RAD (Radiation Absorbed Dose) measures the amount of radiation energy transferred to some mass of material, typically humans.

Effects On Humans Of Various Amounts of Absorbed Radiation

An acute radiation dose (one received over a short period of time) is the most likely to cause damage. Below is a list of the effects on humans corresponding to the amount of radiation absorbed. For comparison, assume that you absorb about 0.6 RADs per year from natural or household sources. These are the effects of different degrees of acute radiation exposure on humans:

  • 30-70 RADS: Mild headache or nausea within several hours of exposure. Full recovery is expected.
  • 70-150 RADS: Mild nausea and vomiting in a third of patients. Decreased wound healing and increased susceptibility to infection. Full recovery is expected.
  • 150-300 RADS: Moderate nausea and vomiting in a majority of patients. Fatigue and weakness in half of victims. Infection and/or spontaneous bleeding may occur due to a weakened immune system. Medical care will be required for many, especially those with burns or wounds. Occasional deaths at 300 RADS exposure may occur.
  • 300-500 RADS: Moderate nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and weakness in most patients. Diarrheal stools, dehydration, loss of appetite, skin breakdown, and infection will be common. Hair loss is visible in most over time. At the high end of exposure, expect a 50% death rate.
  • Over 500 RADS: Spontaneous bleeding, fever, stomach and intestinal ulcers, bloody diarrhea, dehydration, low blood pressure, infections, and hair loss is anticipated in almost all patients. Death rates approach 100%. The effects related to exposure may occur over time, even if the dose was received in a very short time. Hair loss, for example, will become apparent at 10-14 days. Deaths may occur weeks after the exposure.

Protection Against Exposure To Radiation

In the early going, your goal is to prevent exposures of over 100 RADS. A radiation dosimeter will be useful to gauge radiation levels and is widely available for purchase. This item will give you an idea of your likelihood of developing radiation sickness.

Ways To Decrease Dose of Radiation

There are three basic ways of decreasing the total dose of radiation:

  1. Limit the time unprotected. Radiation absorbed is dependent on the length of exposure. Leave areas where high levels are detected and you are without adequate shelter. The activity of radioactive particles decreases over time. After eight hours, levels usually drop to 1/10 of their previous value or less. After 48 hours, levels are down to 1% of the previous high.
  2. Increase the distance from the radiation. Radiation disperses over distance, and effects decrease the farther away you are.
  3. Provide a barrier. A shelter will decrease the level of exposure, so it is important to know how to construct one that will serve as a shield between your people and the radiation source. A dense material will give better protection that a light material.

 

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