Pharmaceutical Countermeasures for Radiation Emergencies – KI (Potassium Iodide)

Hello. I’m Dr. Adam Pomerleau. I’m a medical toxicologist working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The video you’re about to see provides information about potassium iodide. Potassium iodide, or “KI”, comes in a pill or a liquid and contains stable, non-radioactive, iodine that can help block radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland. KI is available without a prescription, but should only be taken on the advice of public health or emergency management officials. KI only protects your thyroid gland from absorbing radioactive iodine. It does not protect you from other sources of radiation or from external radiation exposure. It’s important to note that KI does not keep radioactive iodine from entering the body and cannot reverse its health effects once the thyroid gland is damaged. So take additional precautions to limit your exposure to radioactive iodine. If you’re exposed to radioactive iodine, depending on the severity of the exposure, public health officials could advise taking potassium iodide. Your job is to follow public health officials’ specific instructions and get the recommended dosage of KI into your system as quickly as possible. KI’s effectiveness depends on how much time has passed between the time you are exposed to radioactive iodine and the time you take KI. Here’s how it works: KI dissolves in the stomach and releases stable iodine. The medication is carried by the bloodstream to your thyroid gland. The thyroid gland fills with stable iodine which helps block radioactive iodine from being absorbed. After taking the medication, your thyroid won’t absorb radioactive iodine for 24 hours. Public health officials will let you know if you need another dose. Pregnant women and children should be treated first because young children and unborn children are more sensitive to the effects of radioactive iodine. Some people believe that table salt or other foods rich in iodine can be used instead of KI in an emergency. This isn’t true. Remember, KI cannot protect the rest of your body from radioactive iodine or radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine. And KI does NOT protect against external sources of radiation that may be in the environment, prevent radioactive iodine from entering the body, or reverse damage radioactive iodine has already done. KI can also cause unwanted side effects. That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that you ALWAYS follow public health officials’ specific recommendations for KI. ONLY take it if advised. In case of a radiation emergency, the best way to protect yourself is to get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned for information and updates from emergency management officials. For more information on potassium iodide, please visit our website.

5 comments

  1. Should we believe the CDC , I'm no conspiracy theorist but I think Fukushima is 100x worse than we are being told . If I was in the West coast I'd be taking it now

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