10 Symptoms Of Radiation Sickness

    The nuclear emergency in Japan continues to escalate. Dangerous levels of radiation are leaking from the earthquake-damaged reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi and incidents are feared at other power plants. Those working to contain the meltdowns or living nearby are at the greatest risk. Here is what radiation sickness looks like.

    • 1. Nausea And Vomiting

      The earliest symptoms of Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS) are nausea and disorientation. If you start vomiting within an hour of exposure this implies a massive dose of radiation, making it far likelier you will die without medical treatment.

    • 2. Bruising And Inability To Heal Wounds

      Radiation depletes clot-forming platelets in the blood, leading to severe bruising and wounds that won't heal. In certain cases, this manifests as purpura, discolored patches caused by bleeding beneath the skin (pictured above).

    • 3. Bleeding Out Of Orifices

      Also due to the body's inability to clot, you may bleed spontaneously from the nose, mouth and rectum.

    • 4. Bloody Diarrhea And Vomit

      Similar symptoms as above, different cause. Radiation depletes the cells of the intestinal wall and stomach. This irritates the stomach and intestines, leading to bloody vomit and stool.

    • 5. Radiation Burns

      Clinically known as cutaneous radiation syndrome, or CRS, the first sign is itching. Exposed skin may then turn red, blister, develop open sores and slough off.

    • 6. Hair Loss

      Radiation damages hair follicles, which could lead to rapid hair loss.

    • 7. Headaches, Weakness And Fatigue

      Due to anemia from the loss of blood cells, weakness and fainting may occur. Also leads to hypotension, or extremely low blood pressure.

    • 8. Mouth Sores

      Ulcers in and around the mouth, a visible manifestation of ulcers all along the esophagus and digestive tract.

    • 9. Seizures And Tremors

      Intense and prolonged exposure to radiation can impair the central nervous system. This can lead to a general lack of muscle coordination and seizures.

    • 10. Fever And Infections

      What will ultimately kill someone suffering from radiation sickness. Radiation destroys bone marrow and white blood cells, leading to increased risk of bacterial, viral and fungal infections.