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Radiation Sickness

Radiation sickness (also called acute radiation syndrome) happens when a person is exposed to large amounts of radiation all at once.

Exposure to small amounts of radiation—like from an X-ray or CT scan—doesn't cause any symptoms. But exposure to large amounts of radiation all at once—like from a nuclear accident—may cause radiation sickness and death.

Symptoms of radiation sickness may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy.
  • Hair loss.
  • Skin redness, itching, swelling, or burns.
  • Pain.
  • Seizures.

People who have been exposed to large amounts of radiation and have these symptoms need to see a doctor right away.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Current as of October 8, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.