Characteristic and relatively predictable signs and symptoms develop when a significant portion of the body is exposed to a high level of penetrating radiation over a short period of time, typically less that 24 hours.7 These signs and symptoms are collectively referred to as acute radiation syndrome (ARS) ( T§ble...199z9.). A whole-body gamma dose in excess of 2 Gy (200 rad) is the primary cause of acute radiation syndrome. Alpha and low-energy beta radiation lack sufficient energy to penetrate the skin and deliver a whole-body radiation dose. Neutron exposure is rare, but high-level neutron irradiation is also capable of producing ARS. Additionally, there are a few reports of ARS following significant amounts of internal radioactive contamination.
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