Radiation Burns: Causes of and Types of Burns from Radiation

Question: What are radiation burns? What are the causes of radiation burns? Does sunlight cause radiation burns? Can exposure to an X-Ray during medical therapy cause radiation burns?

Answer: Radiation hazard can be defined as any reparable or irreparable change that occurs in biological cell either due to direct nuclear or indirect cellular water effect from any type of radiation.

Radiation burn is the damage to the skin or the tissues of the body caused by radiofrequency energy or ionizing radiation, burns can be due to sun, tanning booths, X-rays, or radiation therapy for treating cancer.

Causes of Radiation Burns

  • Radiation burn can be a result of occupational hazard or non occupational hazard.
  • Occupational hazards occur in individuals working in radiation areas like atomic reactors, mines and radiology departments.
  • Non occupational hazards occur in general population due to radiation exposure following diagnostic X-ray procedures, radiotherapy, atomic bomb explosion and nuclear reactor accidents.

Types of Radiation Burns

  • The most common type of radiation burn is sun burn caused by ultraviolet radiation.
  • High exposure to X-rays during diagnostic procedures can result in radiation burns.
  • However it should be kept in mind that these diagnostic related risks may be small compared with those of the pathology under investigation and of treatment.
  • Radiation burns can be treated with aloevera gel or caledula ointment if the burns are superficial.
  • Blue yarrow oil mixed with water helps in reducing swelling and pain caused due to radiation burns. Emu oil, curcumin oil is other alternative oils which can be used.

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