Saturday, January 26, 2008

Overblown Fear of Radiation

Everyone is scared of me. They all feel that should avoid me due to radiation exposure. I think this is overblown. Kim took Ali and Maddie and left the state, thinking they were at risk. I am not a hurricane!

The different sources say to stay from 3 to 10 feet from people. Some say it is OK to hug. Some say it is OK to shake hands. Some say to go back to work the next day. Some say avoid young children for days. Some say to isolate yourself in a separate room. Some say it is OK to sit at a dinner table with the family. All say to avoid sleeping next to someone for 5-10 days.

My family worries about me being in the same room. They worry about me touching a door knob.

Here is my feeling:

I think the risk to others is very, very minimal. Why?

1. My body is full of radioactive iodine. It is flooding every cell for days. It will be in my thyroid tissue for months.
2. Historical reviews of patients treated with one to three therapeutic doses of radioactive iodine show no increase in any type of cancer for the patient.
3. Studies of the radiation levels in homes where the patients does not isolate himself showed levels of radiation that are below all acceptable limits.

So, if I, carrying around a body full of radiation have no historical risk for increased cancer, why all the concern over me being in the same room with others? I think it is all just precautionary--common sense, but the risk is very low to anyone. I agree--common sense says don't let my kids sit in my lap for an hour. Don't have sex and don't sleep with someone. However, I think the recommendations of separation and distances and to not do this for X days, and to not do that for Y days are total guesses made without scientific merit.

My two cents....