Effects of Radiation: Why You Need to Protect Yourself

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Even though our bodies have been designed to deal with the effects of radiation, we should be cautious about the amount of exposure we get. Despite some form of radiation being necessary for our development, too much presents health challenges

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We get exposed to radiation through the sun and man-made sources like electrical power, radiation therapy and X-rays among other sources. We explore its impact.

Please note that the information provided here shouldn’t be substituted for medical advice. This article is solely for educational purposes.

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Skin Burns

How to deal with skin burns. Video Credit: Improvement Path

Skin burns, medically termed radiation dermatitis, are one of the effects of radiation, cancer treatment is the root cause and can’t be stopped. Radiation dermatitis can lead to having red, sunburned, tarned and swollen skin. 

This leads to drying, itchiness and peeled skin. The intensity of these symptoms depends on the amount of heat exerted on the skin and its location. Anyone who gets skin burns due to radiation dermatitis can use prescribed moisturizers to manage their skin.

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Early aging

Skin ageing under the sun. Video Credit: Thomas Leveritt

Spending a lot of time under the sun can cause ageing which causes the skin to wrinkle, have dark spots and become leathery.

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Eye Problems

UV radiation can also cause eye problems, such as cataracts. Pterygium (growth of tissues on the eye’s surface) and a burning or inflammation of the cornea. 

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Increased Risk of Cancer

How Likely Are You to Get Skin Cancer? Video Credit: New York Magazine

Excessive radiation exposure has long-term effects. For example, it can trigger certain forms of cancer. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which operates under the World Health Organization (WHO), solar, and ultraviolet rays (UV) radiation are carcinogenic. This can lead to skin cancer and other conditions such as: 

  • Ageing of the skin.
  • Liver spots.
  • Leathery skin.

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Weak Immune System

When you are heavily exposed to the sun, your skin gets burnt, which produces too many white blood cells to heal the burnt skin. This can weaken your immune system as it leads to an imbalance of blood cells.

Dehydration

Explanation of dehydration. Video Credit: Medinaz

This is one of the most common effects of radiation. Dehydration occurs when more water leaves the body than the amount we take in, resulting in an imbalance. Yellow urine is a symptom of dehydration. Other signs you might be dehydrated include fainting, dizziness, and dry mouth.

Heat Stroke

Effects of Radiation: Why You Need to Protect Yourself
A man standing outside his camp. Source: Pexels

Prolonged exposure to UV rays strains the body causing it to fail and can lead to a heat stroke. It can start as exhaustion and escalate to fainting and in severe cases, it can be fatal. Some signs of heat stroke include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shallow breathing
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness

The effects of radiation are grave. That said, the good thing about it is that you can prevent these by simply avoiding high radiation exposure. If you can’t avoid this due ti treatment, you can manage the impact by using medication prescribed to you by your healthcare provider.

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