When radiation fallout is first anticipated, but has not yet arrived, anyone not already sheltered should begin using their N95 particulate respirator masks and hooded rain ponchos.
Everyone should begin taking Potassium Iodide (KI) or Potassium Iodate (KIO3) tablets for thyroid protection against cancer causing radioactive iodine, a major product of nuclear events and weapons explosions.
If no tablets are available: you can apply topically (on the skin) an iodine solution such as tincture of iodine or Betadine for a similar protective effect.
- WARNING: Iodine solutions are NEVER to be ingested or swallowed. For adults, paint 8 ml of a 2 percent tincture of Iodine on the abdomen or forearm each day, ideally at least 2 hours prior to possible exposure. For children 3 to 18, but under 150 pounds, only half that amount painted on daily, or 4 ml. For children under 3 but older than a month, half again, or 2 ml. For newborns to 1 month old, half it again, or just 1 ml. (One measuring teaspoon is about 5 ml, if you don’t have a medicine dropper graduated in ml.) If your iodine is stronger than 2%, reduce the dosage accordingly. Absorption through the skin is not as reliable a dosing method as using the tablets, but tests show that it will still be very effective for most. Do not use if allergic to iodine.
If at all possible, inquire of your doctor if there is any reason why anybody in your household should not use KI or KIO3 tablets, or iodine solutions on their skin, in a future nuclear emergency, just to be sure.