How does radiation affect a person?
Let’s talk about the mechanism of exposure to ionizing radiation (radiation). Radiation, if we are talking about its classical representation (non-medical, about this separately and not about extreme energies and doses), affects the cells of the body. For a person, this is dangerous in two ways.
- First, a cell of the body (skin and organ) is affected by radiation. When there is a lot of damage, the cell can die. When the damage does not concern the cell but the whole body, and many cells die , the body does not have time to restore the dead cells, as well as remove them from the body. As a result, radiation sickness begins (they are of 3 degrees, depending on the dose received, and the corresponding number of damaged cells). Also, radiation can cause, for example, damage to the eye, and a person will receive a so-called radiation cataract of the eye.
- And radiation also has a long-lasting effect. In science, such effects are called stochastic. The meaning of this phenomenon is that despite the incomparably small size of the cell nucleus compared to the cell itself, particles of ionizing radiation also get into it, and damage the nucleus. The cell nucleus is responsible for its reproduction, and therefore, with such damage, there is a risk of cancer. Cancer is a very complex disease, we will touch on it a little in the topic of medical treatment. I would also like to note here that despite the fact that there are people who are less affected by radiation, on average, overexposure is very harmful for the world’s population, and every dose of radiation received is controlled by special organizations.
Myths about radiation
The myth about anti-radiation drugs
AT THIS POINT, I would like to touch on common myths and misconceptions about anti-radiation drugs. These drugs are designed for emergency situations, in case of disasters and war, and their property is that they replace (for a while) a number of substances in the cells of the human body. For simplicity of understanding, let’s say that when a particle of radiation (gamma quantum, alpha or beta particle) enters a cell, it holes it, but the cell is restored. When a lot of radiation particles get into the cell, the cell will disintegrate and die. So, an anti-radiation drug replacing some substances will not allow the cell to disintegrate and thereby die. What will we get from this?
And the fact that really in the short term a person can be saved and, for example, the threshold of radiation sickness of the first degree will be pushed aside in the direction of large doses, receiving more radiation particles. On the other hand, the cell nucleus was not protected, and remained unprotected, and therefore, in the long term, this can lead to cancer.
The myth about vodka that saves from radiation (Bonus Story from the USSR)
There is another myth about vodka. It really has similar properties with anti-radiation drugs. But its effect is much weaker, and we must also not forget about the dangers of alcohol and the effect of intoxication. In short, in the USSR, people who worked with radioactive substances tested the usefulness of vodka for scientific purposes. Experimentally, they showed that if it is necessary to go into the radiation zone for a short time, it is better not to drink alcohol. Since there are few protective properties from it, and due to intoxication and impaired coordination, there is a risk of spoiling the work performed and remaining in the radiation exposure zone for a longer period. Well, a little bit of unofficial figures from the times of the USSR. To achieve some more or less serious protective properties from alcohol, it is necessary to drink it, almost 1 liter per 10 kg of weight. So, we are talking about a doomed venture.
How to protect yourself from radiation?
How to protect yourself from radiation? In general, there are two iron rules that always work and help.
Rule № 1-stay away from sources of radiation. The further away you are from the source, the less it irradiates you.
Rule № 2-reduce the time spent under radiation. If you are still in the radiation exposure zone, try to do everything that is necessary as soon as possible and leave as soon as possible. Of course, there is an option to use shelters, but as you can understand, depending on the type and power of radiation, different types of protection are needed. Although, of course, for peace of mind and at least some small chance, you can hide behind a wooden bar, from despair. Unfortunately, we must understand that where a centimeter of lead is needed, a 30-centimeter bar will be of little use.
IN GENERAL, IT SHOULD BE NOTED that radiation, in small doses, is present everywhere – a natural background. Scientists did an experiment when mice were placed in conditions where they were isolated from radiation, it turned out that the absence of radiation negatively affects the body. The natural background is still needed. Small doses of radiation have a stimulating effect on cells (we are talking about the natural background under normal conditions!).
If you came to this page from a search engine and you still do not understand what radiation is, I recommend looking at this page:
Related articles from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation