As part of the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster, a conference on thyroid cancer was recently held at the U.N.
It addressed issues related to the increasing cost of healthcare and discussed new cost-effective diagnostic and treatment options.
The conference also served as a reminder that a nuclear explosion, whether accidental or terrorist, is still a possibility, and that people should be prepared to protect themselves in the immediate as well as the longer term from its consequences.
Radioactivity is invisible and does not have any odor. Contrary to popular belief, it does not behave like gas and seep into everything. Rather, it is more like sand carried by the winds, and thus it is hard to predict where it will settle, according to the Canadian Department of National Defense.
Those concerned about a nuclear attack should have a plan for their family’s survival, which includes knowing the warning signal, having a battery-powered radio and locating the nearest shelter ahead of time.
The source also recommends having at least 14 days worth of emergency supplies, including water and non-perishable food in tightly sealed containers, and a first aid kit.
Skills such as an ability to prevent and fight fires as well as knowing how to get rid of radioactive dust are also critical.
The latter involves carefully removing outer clothing before you come inside if you suspect it is covered with radioactive fallout. Do not shake the clothes inside the house or shelter.
If water is available, it is good to wash thoroughly, particularly exposed skin and hair, without scrubbing the skin to avoid rubbing in the radioactive particles.