Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Povidone iodine? No, it's potassium iodide

There have been hoax sms going around regarding protection from nuclear radiation by swapping povidone iodine. This has led to many unnecessary panic as well as purchases of povidone iodine by ignorant Sg public.

If you have some common sense to wiki or google before believing some sms from identified sources (one of my customer claimed it was from BBC flash news. Really??), you will find that povidone iodine has no role in the protection or treatment of nuclear radiation. Povidone iodine is just an antiseptic that you apply EXTERNALLY (and is not meant for oral intake). The substance that is shown to protect the body from the harmful iodine isotope from radiation is 'potassium iodide' and it is orally administered. However, we (Sg) are NOT in the danger zone to warrant any form of such action so please save the 'kiasu-ness' and stop 'harassing' your pharmacists.

You can find out more about potassium iodide in the following websites:
FDA - FAQ on Potassium Iodide
CDC - http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/ki.asp

Some points to note with reference to CDC's site... KI cannot prevent radioactive iodine from entering the body. KI only protects the thyroid from radioactive iodine, not other parts of the body. KI cannot reverse the health effects caused by radioactive iodine once damage to the thyroid has occurred. KI cannot protect the body from radioactive elements other than radioactive iodine—if radioactive iodine is not present, taking KI is not protective. That said, not all nuclear radiation comprise of iodine isotope 131I , it may also contain other elemental isotopes which KI has no protection against but those may be in lesser proportion .

Those who want to read more about radiation sickness can refer here.

For people who are indeed within exposure distance to nuclear radiation and are concerned about the possibility of being contaminated with radioactive materials should go to their doctors for advice and treatment.

No, I don't have any potassium iodide tablet in my pharmacy. Period.

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