Here's what massive radiation does to your body, and it's not pretty

While we're all well aware of the danger that massive doses of radiation can represent, what about the real effects on the body? Spoiler alert, it's scary!

Here's the impact of massive radiation on your body, and it's not pretty
© Sebastian Condrea / Getty Images
Here's the impact of massive radiation on your body, and it's not pretty

It's a fact, nuclear energy fascinates as much as it frightens. From the hit series Chernobyl to the film Radioactive, popular culture abounds with works dedicated to the subject. Although nuclear energy occurs naturally on our planet and in the Universe, in the vast majority of cases the consequences of intense nuclear exposure on the human body are fatal. And this is what happens when you are exposed to massive amounts of radiation.

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What is massive radiation?

Whether it's ionising radiation or the rocks beneath our feet containing uranium, potassium or thorium, radioactivity is first and foremost a natural phenomenon. In fact, did you know that Brazilian nuts and bananas are naturally radioactive foods? But don't panic! Concentrations are so low that there is no danger to health. In fact, radioactivity only becomes dangerous above a certain level.

The absorption of radioactivity by the body is expressed in miligray (mGy). These different exposure levels will give you an idea of the danger:

  • 2 mGy: corresponds to the radiation received during a mammogram
  • 2 mGy-20 mGy: corresponds to a CT scan. Doses may vary depending on the machine and the examination
  • 200 mGy: corresponds to the targeted dose delivered during a session of cancer radiotherapy

Above 100 mGy (over the whole body and outside the medical context): this is massive radiation. This is the onset of acute irradiation syndrome (AIS) and the lethal threshold for most individuals.

Read more:Here's how scientists reacted when they witnessed the first ever nuclear explosion

A descent into hell

The effects of massive radiation on the body are absolutely disastrous! Depending on the degree of exposure, death occurs more or less quickly. But in general, less than 3 months is enough! Initially, symptoms include nausea, vomiting, dehydration and bloody diarrhoea. The irradiated body is unable to produce new cells. Your bone marrow, for example, will stop producing white blood cells, leaving you easily prey to infection and disease. You can also expect your body to be swollen and dotted with oozing lesions.

A period of calm may give you the illusion that you're feeling better, but don't be too sure - the descent into hell will start all over again! Just like in a horror film, your skin, no longer able to regenerate, will start to fall apart. Pain, convulsions and breathing difficulties will accompany you throughout, following this massive radiation. Your hair will fall out in clumps and the light will burn your eyes at every moment. Your body will no longer be able to keep down any kind of liquid.

And the worst thing about all this? The story won't end, even after you're dead. Like Marie Curie, the Radium Girls and Vassili Ignatenko, your body will continue to emit radiation after death. More than 30 years after their deaths, the levels are still just as high. There's only one solution to prevent the spread of radiation: lead coffins! You've been warned!

Read more:89 of UK's biggest threats revealed by Government and they include nuclear attack and volcanic eruption

This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

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