Medical Countermeasures (Treatments) for Radiation Exposure and Contamination

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Treating internal contamination:

  • During a radiological or nuclear emergency, radioactive materials may be released into the air and then breathed into the lungs, or may get into the body through open wounds. Radioactive materials can also contaminate the local food supply and get into the body through eating or drinking. This is called internal contamination.
  • The sooner internal contamination is removed from the body, the fewer and less severe the health effects will be. Small amounts of internal contamination may not need treatment.

Some medical treatments are available for limiting or removing internal contamination depending on the type of radioactive material involved. Medical professionals will determine if treatments are needed.

Page last reviewed: April 4, 2018
Content source: National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Emergency Management, Radiation, and Chemical Branch