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What Can a Person Do to Limit Exposure to X-Rays?

By January 26, 2024April 1st, 2024No Comments

Today, we address the crucial query: “What can a person do to limit exposure to X-rays?” The wonders of digital technology and computerized processing have transformed a complex, laborious task into X-ray images on demand with the click of a mouse button. Recent research indicates a staggering 4.2 billion radiologic diagnoses annually, with a substantial 16.5% occurring in the USA.

The benefits of X-ray usage should consistently outweigh the associated risks. Healthcare professionals must adopt protocols that avoid unnecessary X-rays while maintaining beneficial treatment. This safeguards both patients and practitioners from potential adverse effects. To achieve this balance, strategies require effective communication, guidelines, and behaviors.  


What Happens During Exposure to X-Ray Radiation?

Radiography has advanced far beyond taking pictures of broken bones!  We now have computed tomography, fluoroscopy, mammography, and angiography. All have different diagnostic purposes but still function using the same underlying principle. An X-ray beam passes through the target to produce an image on exit. Hard tissues (like bones and teeth) block X-rays and appear white, while softer tissues (like muscles and organs) appear darker.

The drawback to this life-saving technology is that X-rays possess such high energy that they remove electrons from their atoms. This can damage cells and DNA directly or through the formation of free radicals. Health implications can be either:

  • Stochastic Effects: Damage occurs randomly and has no clear dose threshold. Any dose of radiation may cause cancers such as leukemia and solid tumors.
  • Deterministic Effects: Damage is unlikely below a dose threshold. Higher doses and cumulative exposure increase the probability. Cataract formation is a well-known instance.


Why Is It Important That You Limit X-Ray Radiation Exposure?

Although our cells have incredible repair mechanisms, these processes take time. Moreover, all radiation doses are cumulative, elevating the probability of developing radiation-induced diseases. Several studies estimate that the average person’s lifetime risk of developing any cancer is approximately 39%!

Technological advances have vastly lowered X-ray doses and boosted the safety factor, but simultaneously, the number of procedures has increased. Unfortunately, evidence indicates that patient throughput often supersedes image quality considerations in busy radiology departments.

Another point of concern is vulnerable cohorts such as developing fetuses and children. Growing bodies with rapidly dividing cells are particularly susceptible to harm from X-rays. Also, children have their whole lives ahead of them, allowing more time for cancer to manifest.

Providers must always weigh relative risk—patients are usually better off having a needed imaging study than avoiding a small amount of radiation. By restricting X-ray exposure to justified procedures and avoiding repetition, you can diminish the hazards associated with ionizing radiation.


What Should You Do to Limit Your Exposure to X-Rays?


#1. Advice for Patients

When getting X-ray exams, what should you do to limit your exposure? The U.S.A. Department of Health and Human Services has practical advice for patients:

1. Communicate with your healthcare provider:

  • Establish the need for the X-ray procedure.
  • Ask if there’s a lower-risk alternative.
  • Tell them if you are or might be pregnant.
  • Request a protective shield, such as a lead apron or thyroid collar.


2. Keep track of your X-ray history:

  • Keep a record of procedures, including dental X-rays.
  • Include the date, type, referring physician, and facility.
  • Share the information with healthcare providers to avoid repeats.


#2. Advice for Healthcare Providers

When using X-ray radiation, what should you do to limit your exposure? All your actions should accord with the ALARA principleAs Low As Reasonably Achievable:

1. Use protective equipment:

  • Don a lead apron that covers the trunk and upper legs.
  • Wear a thyroid collar to protect the sensitive thyroid gland.
  • Add accessories like leaded eyewear, gloves, caps, and sleeves.
  • Place physical shielding barriers in the exam room, lab, or theater. 


2. Implement safety protocols:

  • Adhere to all legislative requirements and guidelines.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the X-ray source whenever possible.
  • Use personal dosimeters and area radiation monitors.


3. Use X-rays circumspectly:

  • Always use the minimum dose to obtain the desired result.
  • Avoid non-essential and duplicate imaging.
  • Collimate the X-ray beam to focus on the minimum target area.


4. Keep informed and up-to-date:

  • Regularly check, maintain, and calibrate equipment.
  • Review safety and training plans.
  • Track changes to guidelines and best practices.


Take Control of Your X-Ray Radiation Exposure

What can you do to limit your radiation exposure? Let us help you take control of your X-ray radiation safety! Barrier Technologies® offers an extensive selection of the highest quality personal protective equipment, protective barriers, and essential accessories.

Invest in the best products to shield you and your patients against dangerous scatter radiation. Our passionate research and development team continuously innovates new materials and features to enhance comfort, protection, and ease of use. These include our proprietary tungsten-based, lead-free core material, stain-resistant, antibacterial UltraFlex™ fabric, and revolutionary MagnaGuard™ magnetic closures.  

We invite you to browse our latest catalogs to find the right gear for you and your facility. Here’s a brief outline of our industry-leading X-ray radiation protection products: 


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Lead and Lead-free Protective Aprons with 0.35 or 0.5 mm lead equivalence (LE). In frontal, wraparound, and vest and skirt options.
  • Thyroid Collars with 0.5 mm LE. In boomerang, visor, and disposable options. 
  • Radiation Protective Gloves with 0.02 or 0.04 mm LE. In XR1, XR2, and XRF options.
  • Leaded Eyewear with 0.75 mm LE lenses. Prescriptions available.
  • Caps and Headbands with 0.35 or 0.5 mm LE.
  • Full and Half Length Sleeves with 0.5 mm LE.
  • Demi and Half Aprons with 0.5 mm LE.
  • Elastic and Ortho Belts for lumbar support.


Protective Barriers, Shields, Drapes, and Pads

  • Terminator XR™ Mobile Barriers with 1.0 mm LE and 2.0 mm LE in overlaps.
  • Barrier Safe™ Mobile Barriers with lead glass windows and 1.6 mm LE.
  • Porta Shields in three height-adjustable sizes.
  • Table Shielding Drapes with 0.5 mm LE.
  • Protective Blankets with 0.5 mm LE.
  • Secure Shield Pads for angiography, dialysis, electrophysiology, or multipurpose with or without fenestration.
  • CT Shields for eyes, thyroid, breasts, and pediatrics.


Limit Your Radiation Exposure with Barrier Technologies!

Are you wondering, “What can a person do to limit exposure to X-rays?” Our products hold the answer! In the rapidly changing realm of radiology, safety is paramount. Barrier Technologies manufactures and delivers state-of-the-art personal protective equipment and advanced shielding products for all your X-ray applications.

Your patients depend on your knowledge and expertise and trust you to prioritize their needs. Our X-ray protective products will empower you to elevate your practice while minimizing risks. From lead aprons to specialized eyewear, we’ve got you covered.

Together, we can move towards a safer future. Contact us here for expert advice and to place your order.