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Strange story about taking iodine pills for fear of… nuclear disaster

1. How do iodine pills work?

The thyroid gland in the neck produces hormones that are important for brain development and vital body functions thanks to stable iodine. The main role of the thyroid gland is to use iodine as a raw material to make thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones work to promote cell renewal. Since the body cannot produce iodine, it must be obtained through our diet.

Iodine tablets are a medical drug that blocks the absorption of radioactive iodine (which is one of the radioactive substances released in a serious accident at a nuclear facility) into the thyroid gland. Used to prevent and reduce infection inside the thyroid gland.

2. How can iodine help in a nuclear accident?

In a nuclear accident, radioactive iodine will be released into the atmosphere. Inhaling or consuming contaminated iodine through food may increase the risk Thyroid Canceras was observed after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.

Should I take a prophylactic iodine pill for fear of nuclear disaster - Photo 1.

Iodine pills block the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland, reducing the risk of thyroid cancer.

Iodine pills block the absorption of radioactive iodine by the thyroid gland and reduce the risk of thyroid cancer. Iodine tablets provide protection against radioactive iodine only and not against other radioactive substances.

According to the Norwegian Nuclear and Radiation Safety Authority, iodine tablets can be taken to reduce the risk of developing thyroid cancer in the event of a nuclear accident. In 2011, the Japanese government also advised people around the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant to drink iodine. However, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission notes that it is a very specific safeguard. New evacuation is the most effective defense in the event of a radiation emergency.

3. Recommendations from nuclear safety experts

Using iodine as a precaution to prevent radiation exposure after a nuclear power plant leak or accident is not beneficial because the thyroid only stores iodine for a period of time. limit.

According to the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), iodine only protects the thyroid gland and that the most important action after a nuclear accident is to evacuate or seek safe haven. In addition, the tablets must be taken at specific times – ideally one hour before radiation exposure and 6 to 12 hours after exposure at the latest. Pregnant women, infants, children and young adults may be prescribed these products.

Dr. Hielke Freerk Boersma, an expert in nuclear radiation at the University of Groningen, said: “To some extent iodine pills will be useful in combating the effects of nuclear bombs. The direct effects of nuclear explosions would be catastrophic.Over great distances, where fallout would prevail, radioactive contamination would certainly not be caused solely by radioactive iodine. Unnecessary iodine pills can also cause adverse health effects, although the likelihood of these effects occurring is very small.”

Belgium’s Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) also warns against taking the drug. Taking iodine pills will not protect against other forms of radiation, nor will they provide immunity. These pills are not a permanent cure.

4. Possible side effects

To date, the side effects of iodine pills reported are as follows:

Hypersensitivity to the drug: urticaria, rash…

Digestive system diseases: Nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea…

Other symptoms: Decreased thyroid function, headache, shortness of breath…

Too much iodine can damage the kidneys and heart and cause the thyroid gland to malfunction.

People with a history of hypersensitivity to the ingredients in iodine pills should not use it.

Health experts have warned against consuming iodine without proper precautions. Iodine tablets must be prescribed by a doctor, and any iodine supplement should not be taken unless there is an acute medical reason to do so.

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