new :) & cleaning up radioactive stuff

Hey :) I am a new member, TT and 1 para removed Sept 26 and starting LID & no meds today, RI in 2 weeks. I have an endo who is **severely** lacking in experience and information for me.

I am going to isolate myself from my hub & 18yo daughter upstairs where I will have my work office, a bathroom, bed & a dorm fridge/microwave all to myself.

My question today is about clean up of radioactive things, such as my bedding and plastic dishes that I will be using. Is there something I am suppose to do? Is there a timeframe that a remote control to a television can be touched by my daughter? I will be using her bathroom ... do I need to cleanse it somehow?

On septic tanks, does that go waste out into our yard?

I feel so completely ignorant, and I have been lurking for a few days. LOVE this site! LOVE the LID diet cookbook!!

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Bedding & dishes - just wash in water (it is recommended to use dishes you can wash rather than disposables, because with disposables, you have to bag it and let it sit for a few months for the radioactivity to decay - or you can just wash any RAI that might have gotten on the dishes away with water). Nothing special is needed. The same goes for the bathroom - just make sure to thoroughly wash all surfaces at the end of your isolation period.
Just wipe down the remote with a damp cloth and it should be fine.
As far as the septic tank, I have no experience with that, but I would imagine that your radioactive waste (urine) will go into the septic tank and it might be radioactive for a while. Hopefully someone else has insight on how to deal with that.

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Thanks :) I feel so foolish asking stupid questions. LOL

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questions are good, and you are not the first to ask these questions.

sounds like you have everything squared away and planned. :))

there's nothing special you should do for clean up, aside from do not share untensils for (x) amount of days. I'll link the ATA guidelines for you below.

I-131 will eventually decay from the environment. plus, you can wash away the residue with soap and water. nuc. med. advised me tow wash all of my bedding and clothing used at about 24 hours and then again 3 (?) days later, in their own load, separate from other family members' items.

I kept designated dishes and utensils for my containment period. and handwashed every night with a designated sponge I kept in a labeled ziploc with the dishes. I tossed the sponge at the end.

good luck!!

http://www.thyroid.org/patients/patient_brochures/radioactive_iodine.html

Instructions to reduce exposure to others after I-131 RAI treatment
Action Duration (Days)
Sleep in a separate bed (~6 feet of separation) from another adult ....................................... 1-11*
Delay return to work ........................................................................... ..................................... 1-5*
Maximize distance from children and pregnant women (6 feet)................................................ 1-5*
Limit time in public places ........................................................................... .............................. 1-3*
Do not travel by airplane or public transportation ................................................................... 1-3*
Do not travel on a prolonged automobile trip with others ....................................................... 2-3
Maintain prudent distances from others (~6 feet) ................................................................... 2-3
Drink plenty of fluids ........................................................................... ..................................... 2-3
Do not prepare food for others ........................................................................... ..................... 2-3
Do not share utensils with others ........................................................................... ................. 2-3
Sit to urinate and flush the toilet 2-3 times after use .............................................................. 2-3
Sleep in a separate bed (~6 feet of separation) from pregnant partner, child or infant .......... 6-23*
*duration depends on dose of I-131 given

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There are no stupid questions!! Radiation "decays" with time. So, I'd suggest using as much disposable items as possible - now is the time to clean out your closets and wear the stuff that was headed to Goodwill or the rag drawer. Wear and toss. Use as much disposable plates and such as possible. Use and toss. I rarely disagree with Theresa :-) but the nature of radiation is such that it embeds into the item that it contaminates. So if you use your regular dishes, you are making them radioactive. The radiation will decay over time, but washing them will also contaminate your sink and dishwasher. The advice I got was to use disposable items. I'd recommend you let the garbage bag sit for a week or two before tossing. The halflife of the radioactive iodine will allow the decay to be to a relatively safe level - especially when most of the radiation will be down the drain and toilet. Radiation levels reduce with the inverse square of the distance. So, if your septic tank is 3 feet from the house, the radiation level is 1/9th. I suspect your tank is more like 20 feet from your house, so the radiation exposure is 1/400th. It's not enough to worry about unless you are planning on small kids playing over where the septic tank is during the first week...unlikely. Again, it will also decay over time.
The bedding - after about a week - change the bedding and let it sit for a week or two. The radiation will decay. Then wash. Or, use the bedding that's worn or torn and use and toss.
If you are super worried about disposing of radioactive waste - ask the hospital if they'll take it. But I do believe this is being overly cautious.
Let me help put it in perspective for you.
I had 150 millicuries. I was hospitalized for three nights, four days. By the third night, my levels were so low based on the meters the hospital was using that the nurses took down the lead shield from my door and came in the room to hang out with me. They wear special meters to protect them from undue radiation over time. They had no issues being in the room...that was after three days of showering, drinking, peeing, etc. I did a ton of showering and drank tons of water...it's the best way to rid the body of radiation. Also, I brought into my room my eye glasses - they let me take them home. I also had a book that was disposable and they called me at home to ask if I wanted it shipped to me. I asked them to toss it. Since you'll be at home, be sure to flush three times - maybe an extra since you'll be upstairs. To move waste away from the home. Showering - afterwards - run the water for a while to flush the water out of the pipes in the house.
Other than that, wiping down surfaces to get rid of sweat and oils from your fingers - which will be radioactive - will help some.
It's really important to protect others, but also important to not be too anal about these things. We get a good dose of radiation each time we fly in an airplane, go to the dentist, hang out in Vegas, etc.
My LID blog might be helpful to you - http://thelowiodinediet.blogspot.com/
dj

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you don't have to throw anything away. I-131 decays from the environment, plus you can safely wash I-131 from your clothes. And it's only the first couple days that you need to be cautious in this area.

you have to 'not share utensils' for 2 - 3 days. you're still radioactive after your isolation period is over. so any utensils you are using from there will be as radioactive as you are until you wash them

it's a difficult concept that pops up all the time. follow the guidelines you get from your nuc. med. department, you'll be fine. It really is not that big of a deal, and just remember we are surrounded by radiation exposure daily.

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As Jani72 points out, my nuc. med. people provided safeguard tips to use once I came home. My septic tank is nearby, but not near anyone. I followed pretty much all the things DariaJ recommends. I was perhaps overcautious in some areas, but then again, was trying not to take any risks. Covered phone, remote, and laptop/mouse with plastic wrap. Kept bagged disposable items for a week or two, then put them in trash for pick-up. Only my wife to protect, so no smooching. You'll do fine.

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