When x-rays were accidentally discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, his discovery changed the future of medicine. Today, x-rays are widely used in medical clinics, dental offices, emergency rooms, and more.
While the discovery of x-rays revolutionized health care, x-rays can cause exposure to radiation which can be harmful to the human body. Precautions should be taken by health care professionals and patients to ensure the safe use of x-rays for reduced exposure to radiation.
Be informed so you can keep yourself safe. The following are a few important facts you should know about x-rays and radiation.
1. X-rays Have the Power to Be Helpful and Harmful
Every day, patients in hospitals and clinics are receiving x-rays for diagnosing injuries or illnesses. While x-rays are a common, helpful test, they carry the power to cause great harm when standard precautions are not taken.
Why is that?
It’s best to think of x-rays as electromagnetic energy. The rays carry a great amount of energy in very short wavelengths. The process can cause cell damage and alter DNA to the point of causing mutated cells during replication or cancer over time.
This may sound scary, but don’t worry. Trained doctors only use the effective dose of x-rays, which is the lowest amount of radiation needed to get the job done. The frequency of x-rays is also limited since radiation can build up over time.
2. Radiation Exposure Is Preventable
While the threat of exposure to radiation is real, it’s not all doom and gloom. Scientists developed ways to minimize exposure so you stay safe. This includes recommendations for treatment, ensuring equipment is working properly, and training doctors and technicians who are operating the machinery.
Seek out clinics with professionals who are properly trained in x-rays and preventing radiation exposure. Ask for a protective apron to shield your body and don’t be afraid to ask your doctor if an x-ray is truly necessary.
3. Extra Caution Should Be Taken with Children and Pregnant Women
Unlike adult cells which repair themselves quickly, babies and children are at a higher risk for cell mutations and DNA damage. Since radiation accumulates in the body over time, x-rays are typically performed on children only when a health concern outweighs the long-term risk.
Pregnant women should always tell their doctor of their pregnancy before taking x-rays. Though most scans avoid radiation exposure to the fetus, your doctor needs to know the facts to keep you and the baby safe.
4. Frequent Flyers May Have a Higher Exposure to Radiation
Did you know the body scanners at airports used to detect potentially dangerous weapons are x-ray machines? These x-ray body scanners can expose passengers to trace amounts of radiation over time.
Radiation released from airport scanners is much lower than medical scans, but airplane personnel or frequent flyers should be aware.
When you need x-rays, choose trained, certified doctors and technicians using innovative technologies and methods. Vidius Healthcare Solutions provides doctor’s offices and clinics with efficient radiology practice management services to get the job done right while guarding your health.