Believe it or not, we’re exposed to radiation every day. The tricky part is we won’t know how high a dose we’re exposed to in an emergency situation.

Variables such as the type of radioactive material involved, the length of exposure time, and the amount absorbed all play a part in possible radiation-related health effects. There may also be long-term risks, such as cancers that develop over time or possible DNA mutations that affect our offspring.

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Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) is caused by high radiation doses that irradiate most of the entire body, were able to reach internal organs, and were received in a short period of time.

ARS may begin minutes to days after exposure. Symptoms may come and go, and last for several days. Possible signs of contamination include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, diarrhea, fever, and possibly seizures, and coma. The figure to the right outlines areas of your body affected by exposure.

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Want to learn more about the reality of radiation and radioactive materials? Go to to read our analysis of some of the most common myths and misconceptions about this topic.

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