Answer to Question #9970 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Nuclear Medicine Patient Issues — Therapeutic Nuclear Medicine

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

I am concerned about the length of time to stay away from children and pregnant moms after radioiodine therapy for hyperthyroidism. I work with children at school and have pregnant friends. I just received the radioiodine treatment. I wouldn't want to expose anyone needlessly.
Without knowing all the details of your treatment for hyperthyroidism, I will make a few assumptions. I'm answering this question nine days after your treatment so by now only a small amount of the iodine-131 would still be in your body. During the first few days after your treatment you may have been instructed by your physician to avoid close and prolonged contact with infants, children, and pregnant women. Even though the radiation exposure to other individuals would have been quite low and would not have harmed them, it is good practice to minimize exposure to other people as much as possible.

Based upon the assumptions I've made, I believe the restrictions may no longer be needed and you should feel free to resume your normal activities around children and pregnant friends. But I would recommend you review the instructions your physician provided because those instructions would be based upon your specific treatment.

Janelle Braun
Registered Radiation Protection Technologist
Assistant Professor of Radiologic Physics

Answer posted on 12 January 2012. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.