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.
Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy.
Skin redness, itching, swelling, or burns.
People who have been exposed to large amounts of radiation and have these symptoms need to see a doctor right away.
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology