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What Are Iodine Pills Used For?
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What Are Iodine Pills Used For?

Iodine tablets have been a lot in the news lately, especially now that the government has recently decided to provide iodine pills in a larger area around nuclear power plants. But what is iodine actually good for? How do these pills work? And when do you have to take the tablets? Dokteronline.com looked it up for you.

Iodine and the thyroid

Iodine is a trace element found in eggs, seaweed and fish. It is also added to kitchen salt and baking salt.  Iodine plays an important role in the function of the thyroid gland. Amongst other things, it ensures that the thyroid gland produces sufficient hormones. This is important for the growth, the metabolism and the development of the nervous system. Iodine from food is good for the body and is taken up by the thyroid gland. However, a form of radioactive iodine is released during a nuclear disaster. This iodine is also taken up by the thyroid gland but the effects of this substance may be disastrous.

The dangers of radioactive iodine

Radioactive iodine released during a nuclear disaster, is inhaled through the air. This way, the toxic substance is present in the blood and is taken up by the thyroid gland. Radioactive iodine increases the risk of thyroid cancer. It takes years before the disease develops. Especially young people, children and unborn babies are at risk: their thyroid is the most sensitive to radioactive iodine. Fortunately there is a solution: by taking extra iodine in the form of iodine pills, the thyroid becomes saturated. There is no place in the body to store radioactive iodine.

What are iodine pills used for?

Iodine tablets are intended primarily for young people who live near a nuclear power plant. Within a radius of 100 kilometers, the government holds iodine tablets available for the groups at risk. In the so-called first ring (the area closest to the power plant) these are children, adults up to 40 years and pregnant women. In the second ring, where there is less risk of radiation, it concerns children under 18 and pregnant women. People who are older than 40 have no increased risk of thyroid cancer. They do not need to take iodine tablets. Do you live just a little further from a nuclear power plant or are you older than 40, but would you still like to have iodine pills at home just in case ? You can buy iodine tablets online, for example through the online pharmacies working together with Dokteronline.com.

When and how to take iodine tablets?

You take iodine pills only when a nuclear disaster has actually occurred. It does not make sense to take them in a preventive manner. The pills work best if taken shortly (within 12 hours) before you are exposed to radioactive iodine. If you take iodine tablets after you have been in contact with radioactive iodine will lessen the protective effect. In a nuclear disaster, the government will inform people when to take extra iodine. Do not take the tablets upon your own initiative but listen to the official recommendations. Iodine tablets can be dissolved in a glass of liquid, but also fragmented by mixing them with some food. Follow the instructions in the package leaflet and do not exceed the recommended dosage.