Sales of this obscure medication that reportedly helps combat radiation exposure are going through the roof. However, many scientists are saying potassium iodide pills are not necessary for most. So do we need them or not?
James Fagin, chief of endocrinology at the New York Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center said that there are only certain people who need this, and only in certain areas. It may also have some adverse affects, so don’t just hoover the medication down!
Basically, when an individual is exposed to a radioactive meltdown, their thyroid is at risk of developing cancer. This is due to the fact that the organ cannot tell the difference between radioactive iodine and the normal stuff. Thyroid cancer is typically a disease limited to middle age people, but in these situations the youngest are the most susceptible.
For this reason, children and pregnant women who are in the affected area should be taking the potassium iodide pills; since kids’ and fetuses’ cells multiply so much faster than older people. Thankfully many are donating to Japan and it has distributed about 230,000 doses to children and pregnant mothers.
Fagin says that anyone over the age of 20, however, would get no benefit from the doses. It is also said that anyone in the United States is not at risk and should not be taking this medication. As with any prescription, these medicinal drugs come with side affects. You may experience swollen salivary glands, digestive tract problems or allergic reactions. Also, timeliness is key. They are to be taken either as a precautionary measure or right after exposure to radiation. Even waiting a week could cause the harmful iodine to be trapped in the thyroid.
There are other risks when people are exposed to a radioactive meltdown, and experts learned a lot about these after both Hiroshima and Chernobyl. Please check out more warnings and instructions for these potassium iodide pills here before you take them. As stated, most people don’t need it and should not be taking it. What do you think about the panic for obtaining this medicine? Will you take it to be safe? Be sure to leave me your comments below.