Protect Yourself and Your Family in a Radiation Emergency
Get inside. Stay Inside. Stay Tuned.
In the event of a radiation emergency, whether intentional or not, journalists play an important role in making certain the public receives timely and accurate information that will be helpful in saving lives.
CDC has tools and resources to help journalists understand how radiation affects lives every day and especially during a radiation emergency. Following are some key concepts, messages, and resources that may be helpful to journalists and other media professionals.
NCEH/ATSDR Office of Communication
Protect yourself, your family, and your pets in a radiation emergency.
- Get inside or take shelter,
- Stay inside to reduce your exposure to radiation, and
- Stay tuned for further instructions on what to do.
Because radioactive materials become weaker over time, staying inside for at least 24 hours can protect you and your family until it is safe to leave the area. If you have loved ones in schools, day cares, hospitals, nursing homes, or other facilities during a radiation emergency, stay where you are! Going outside to get loved ones could expose you and them to dangerous levels of radiation. Learn more about what to do in a radiation emergency.
Decontaminating yourself if you were outside during a radiation emergency will lower your exposure to harmful radioactive material. Even just removing your outer layer of clothing can remove up to 90% of radioactive material.
- Take off your outer layer of clothing
- Wash yourself off
- Put on clean clothes
Learn more about how to self-decontaminate after a radiation emergency.
Radiation can affect the body in a number of ways.
- The health effects depend on the amount of radiation absorbed by the body (the dose), the type of radiation, and how and for how long the person was exposed.
- In large doses, radiation can cause serious illness or skin burns.
- If you are injured or think you are injured, seek medical attention right away. Learn more about possible health effects of radiation exposure and contamination.
There are several treatments available for radiation emergencies, but each type of treatment works only for certain situations.
- In some situations, no treatment is available or appropriate.
- The treatments that are available for internal contamination include potassium iodide (KI), Prussian blue, and Diethylenetriamine pentaacetate (DTPA).
- Medical and other officials will monitor the situation to determine which kinds of treatments are needed and will provide information about how to get them.
Learn more about medical treatments for radiation exposure and contamination, and why it’s important to check with medical professionals to determine the best options.
What to do in a Radiation Emergency
Types of Radiation Emergencies
Key Messages about Radiation Emergencies
Radiation Emergencies and Your Health
Medical Countermeasures (Treatments) for Radiation Exposure and Contamination
Health Information for Specific Groups
Possible Health Effects of Radiation Exposure and Contamination
Information for Public Health Professionals
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