What is Radiation Shielding?
Radiation shielding, also known as lead shielding and X-ray shielding, is paramount to the safety of healthcare workers and their patients. Radiation shields are physical barriers that are built to absorb radiation from a variety of radiation sources including X-rays. Typically, lead radiation shields are used as a form of radiation attenuation and damage resistance. Although lead shields are not effective against all types of radiation, they are one of the best options when it comes to X-rays, particularly in healthcare facility radiation protection.
It is important that hospitals offer adequate radiation protection to healthcare workers and patients. Radiation technology in hospitals has been shown to cause significant and widespread damage throughout the body. The ionizing nature of X-rays removes electrons from atoms, changing the behavior of these particles.
In human tissue, this creates a unique situation because the body senses the molecular damage and tries to repair it. During the repair process, the body runs a high risk of making “mistakes” and creating cancerous cells. This is why cancer is a primary concern of radiation exposure. Additionally, prolonged and repeated exposure to radiation can result in a condition, which cannot be repaired by the body, leading to genetic mutations that are passed on in the DNA.
Radiation damage doesn’t only stem from chronic exposure; it can also be caused from short-term, high-level exposure, also known as acute exposure. Acute exposure can cause rapidly developing and severe symptoms. Radiation sickness causes extreme nausea, vomiting, hair loss, skin burns, and, in severe cases, death. Patients in hospitals receiving radiation treatments are frequently submitted to acute radiation exposure in the form of short, but high-level bursts of radiation.
Benefits of Radiation Shielding
Because lead is a high-density mineral, it effectively stops gamma and X-ray radiation by impeding its energy. When the X-rays come into contact with a lead shield, the lead absorbs, separates, and scatters the rays, blocking them from the object or person the lead is protecting. Lead shielding makes many preventative measures possible, from bone weakness to cancer screening. It also allows accurate diagnoses of breaks, sprains, and other injuries.
X-ray protection in healthcare facilities is vital to the functioning of the medical community. Repeated exposure to X-rays causes the lead shielding to break down over time, and hospital X-ray shields need to be replaced or repaired occasionally. Additionally, as hospitals upgrade their radiation technology, their radiation protection should be upgraded as well. Of course, hospitals need to pay close attention to their bottom line. Lead shielding offers the most cost-effective protection against X-ray and gamma ray radiation.
Because both hospital workers and patients are exposed to radiation at different levels and for different periods of time, it is critical that hospitals offer protection in several degrees. Because radiation shielding absorbs and scatters dangerous X-rays, it greatly reduces and even eliminates the risk of radiation health risks. Lead shielding is the most effective and least costly way for hospitals to implement several types of protection, including shielded rooms, dividers, goggles, aprons, and more. As radiation technology is upgraded, hospitals need to be sure they are upgrading their protection against stronger levels in a way that will stand up to the test of time and repeated radiation exposure.