CT scans have been working really hard to claim their spot in emergency rooms as a routine test. As if going to an emergency room weren’t bad enough already with the excessive waiting and increased chance to contract some type of illness, now people have a nice dosage of radiation to look forward to. Both adults and children are being urged to have CT scans in order to pinpoint any possible problem. The problem is that with the combination of every medical device and technology around us, people are being experiencing very high radiation exposure levels – especially children.
One study shows that children in pediatric emergency rooms are receiving an incredible amount of CT scans now compared to years ago. In 1995, the number of CT scans given to children in pediatric emergency rooms was 330,000. Compare that number to the 1.65 million CT scans given to children in 2008, and we’re looking at an increase of 5 times. Although the population has increased, there is no reason for CT scans to be administered nearly as much as they are.
Why so Many CT Scans?
Children aren’t necessarily getting injured more, leading to a necessary CT scan. Technology has simply advanced so much that the imaging rate has gone up on modern scanners, causing an increase in radiation levels and radiation exposure. The advancements have also caused people in the medical profession to use of the scanners more often “because they can”. Abdominal CT scans, for example, were seldom used in 1995, but are used 15 to 21 percent of emergency visits today.
The radiation levels children are exposed to today are simply too high. High radiation exposure is actually a problem everyone faces today, but children are more vulnerable than adults to radiation risks. Radiation levels don’t diminish, they only increase as you are subject to more and more radiation. Children are basically starting their radiation dosages earlier than ever, and so the accumulated radiation will sooner reach the point of radiation sickness.
Know if the Scan is Truly Necessary
A CT scan could really help save a life, but under no circumstances should they be used so often just to “be on the safe side”. You need to ask yourself if the test is absolutely necessary. It would also be a good idea to make sure that the scan wasn’t done before by another doctor. If a scan is absolutely necessary, see if one is available that doesn’t irradiate vulnerable areas such as the eyes, thyroid, breasts, or reproductive organs.