HEALTH COACH Talks with Angela Madsen, Ocean Rower, Skipper: ROC Rowing Expedition

ROC Rowing Expedition

Big Blue Row, arrived on Port St. Charles, Barbados, March 4th, 2011; after 47 days at sea. Angela Madsen skippered a crew of 16 rowers with 7 Canadians on the team. 

They were attempting to break the world record of 33 days, 7.5 hours for the fastest trans-Atlantic crossing by oar (people power only), in the 38 foot Big Blue; the first Catamaran rowing vessel to cross an ocean. With 8 oars in the water rowing non-stop (4 rowers in each of the twin hulls), the crew of 16 rowers kept a schedule of two hours on the oars, and two hours off, throughout the expedition; which was unaccompanied by another boat for supplies, safety, or communication. 

After encountering formidable ocean conditions that hindered their progress, they realized that the expedition would take longer than the planned 30-33 days and began to ration food while maintaining their non-stop schedule. 

As Captain, Angela was responsible for the wellbeing, morale, and the safety of her crew, and ultimately the one responsible for reaching their destination. She is the one to hold everything together when the going gets real, through the demanding pace, unimaginable stress and strain, fatigue, and the dangerous conditions that must be endured and overcome when attempting such an expedition. 

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to communicate with Angela about this ocean voyage (her fourth) and to have a glimpse into her extraordinary life and to share this with my readers here at HEALTH COACH.

Thank you, Angela, for giving me your time to talk about what you do. Your life story truly is a world-class inspiration - see the Exceptional People Page for a profile of Angela - and valuable to share with my readers at HEALTH COACH, with whom I am working hard to inspire healthy habits. 

What I felt was needed was to show a world beyond the everyday struggles. I am proud to feature you as the standard of an exceptional person. Adventurer. Olympian. Trailblazer. Defier of Limitations. Champion of Life. Ocean Rower. Paraplegic.


1. You have some very impressive achievements, definitely meriting a few tattoos and piercings (seafarers that survived harrowing voyages would mark them symbolically and that is the origins of tattoos and piercings). What are you most proud of?

I have had a few piercings and I found them to be inconvenient so they are gone. They just get all caught up in clothing and ripped out. I do have a tat of a zipper (on my back over my surgery scar) opening up to reveal the inner hardware or Harrington rods and pedicle screws which hold my lumbar spine together. The tat was done from my x rays. I do have a long list of achievements, some of them very impressive I suppose but I am not quite sure of which I am most proud or if I am proud of any of my achievements. I get a lot of positive feedback from people who have heard my story who have been inspired to be more positive or do more with their lives. Sometimes I feel proud of them and of their accomplishments and I gain a sense of satisfaction knowing I had some part in it. It's not really about me so much.

2. A skipper is a key position on an expedition team. What has this role involved for you?
I embrace and value the care of my crew and I have a passive leadership style. Ocean rowing on these crossings is not like any other activity or expedition that can be duplicated or simulated any place else on earth.

Preparations for the row involve training. Training to make sure they are physically and mentally prepared. Safety and rescue training, basic navigation, basic first aid at sea and familiarizing them with the boat and its components and kit as well as making sure they have their personal kit items for the trip. What to bring, what not to bring and preparation also involves the encouragement of even estate planning as it is a dangerous sport.

On the row itself, besides keeping everyone as safe as possible and making the decisions of navigation, watch system, schedule and maintaining a good working relationship with the crew, there is caring for the crew; making sure they have what they need to do the job. Enough food, enough water, enough rest. Making sure they are all healthy and well. Making sure they are caring for themselves and each other and not just physically. 

What we do out there is so tough and people can get so worn down that they need to be lifted up with praise and recognition rather than torn down with criticism, negativity and put downs. There are far more people in this world that know, are familiar and even are comfortable putting people down than know how to be positive or positively motivate people. I try and encourage positivity! This is probably not in the job description, it is just how I roll. 

I try and make it as positive an experience as I possibly can for myself and the crew. I also try and communicate the how and whys of everything I do to those who are going to participate so not only do they have a clear understanding, but they can communicate it to others. I never know if they will do it again or not. What I do know is they will talk about it. They will do interviews, they will answer questions. Some will do presentations and public speaking.  I like to make sure they are informed. Again, not in the job description, just how I roll.

Sunrise at sea

3. One of your passions must be the ocean, and I am interested to know what is at the heart and soul of what motivates and drives you; how do you manage to overcome the physical challenges of being a differently-abled person who is also dealing with the impossible condition of Myasthenia gravis considering the physical demands of these rowing expeditions?
The Myasthenia gravis is not impossible. It is inconvenient. It is an auto immune disease that is ocular or effects the muscles in the eyes. I have bouts of temporary blindness or double vision. The eyes will cross or eye lids droop or not open at all. I got diagnosed with it when I was playing wheelchair basketball for both a men's and women's team and also training for rowing on our national team. I was doing high cardio prolonged activities, traveling extensively and enduing lots of stress. I dropped the high cardio wheelchair basketball and continued rowing since vision is not all that important for rowing and that reduced the amount of traveling and some of the stressors that trigger the Myasthenia. I managed it with medication in the beginning and then managed it by eliminating the triggers and boosting the immune system through nutrition. It is controlled with medication but I find the medication is only necessary when my immune system is compromised. I did not have a problem with it on any of my other rows. The stress of getting the boat ready (for the ROC Expedition, Big Blue Row) and trying to deal with that crappy airport wheelchair I had to use when the airlines lost mine after refusing to bring it to me at JFK, being victimized by cab drivers (in Morocco) because of the wheelchair and the rowing schedule combined with the viral infection at the start of the trip, triggered my Myasthenia gravis. I had to go back on the medication for awhile. On the boat or anyplace I have adapted by becoming keenly aware of my surroundings; everything in its place as if I were visually impaired because I am, from time to time, visually impaired or blind.
I was born and raised in the mid-western state of Ohio. My dad always had motor boats on the Ohio River and I was quite the river rat. I can't remember learning to swim but I spent 3 years on a diving team and 5 years on a swim team all before entering high school. First duty station in the Marine Corps was Southern California so I was naturally drawn to the ocean and the sport of surfing in 1980. One of my goals before becoming disabled was to surf in a major surf contest. I had finally achieved the level of skill to compete in a surf contest and was in the process of going after my dream, and then after the operation on my back, I thought I had lost everything. 

I not only made it back into the surfing line up but have since achieved my goal of surfing in the Women's World Championships of Surfing in Biarritz France in 2006.

The Women’s World Championships of Long  Boarding 

Biarritz, France 
 July 3-9, 2006

With my ASP membership, entry to the contest, travel and accommodations arranged, all that was left for me to do was to determine which board to take and to get some practice sessions using the board I would be surfing with in the contest. I had my 9’6 stealth pope bisect board which I had previously taken to Hawaii and had an awesome time. I purchased it specifically for traveling and at the time of purchase, pope bisect did not have a 10’ board. I took my 9’6” to a few local spots and on the small wave days, it was a bit more challenging. I usually ride a Harbour 10’ San O epoxy surfboard. Then I received an e-mail from Pope bi-sect and I went to their website and saw that they now had a Bob Miller 10’ Pope Bisect in stock and it looked like something I would be interested in.

As the departure date drew nearer, I began checking the surf and weather forecast for Biarritz. The forecast was for small wave conditions and some rain. I have surfed Biarritz in 2-3 meter waves and was thinking the 9’6” would work but after seeing the forecast and webcams I decided to call and inquire about the 10’ bi-sect board.

The 2-piece surfboard design is the easiest for me to travel with being differently-abled and requiring a wheelchair for ambulation. The case is approx. 5’x3’x8” and fits vertically on the footplate of my wheelchair. I place the carrying strap around my neck to keep it from falling forward. I place my duffle bag with cloths and what not on my wheelchair backrest like a backpack and go wherever in the world I want to go to surf independently. Then it is best not to share the information about being disabled. This assures that they will not automatically deny you entry.

I called Karl Pope and arranged to meet him at the warehouse location in Santa Barbara. I told him what I was doing and what conditions I expected. We talked about surf history and the history of the bi-sect. I found it all very interesting. I could have stayed there and chatted all day. I looked at all of the boards and found the one I liked. It is epoxy and is light for a bi-sect board, not as light as the carbon fiber hollow core stealth but it is so similar to the 10’0” board I regularly surf so I decided to trade my 9’6” for the 10’0. This took place the day before departure so I really had no time to surf it. I had my board and myself all packed up and ready to go all the time never knowing if they would allow me to participate in the contest. Feeling anxious, yet trying to be positive and hopeful, just not too much. Trying to be realistic, minimize disappointment and have a back up plan should they have not allowed me to participate. I always have a back up plan.

The flight was uneventful and I arrived in Biarritz on July 1. My baggage and surfboard did not. Some really cool people offered me a ride to my hotel and I checked in with no problems. On the morning of the second I took a cab to the contest site to see how far it was to my hotel and how to get there without getting lost. It cost me 8 euros, not too bad. It was downhill most all the way there. It took about 5 minutes to push in my chair. I got to the venue and checked in without any problems. I was stoked! There was not the least bit of concern on their part about my entry and they were not going to turn me away. I pushed up the hill 30 minutes back to my hotel to find the airline had delivered my duffle bag. There was no sign of my surfboard. Many surfboards were lost and some never arrived. Simone Robb received hers about an hour prior to her first heat.

I had my board shorts and a couple of rash guards in with my clothing. I was hoping the water would not be too cold. Surf report indicated about 65 degrees fahrenheit. My wetsuit was in the bag with the board. I got to the surf village and began inquiring about borrowing a surfboard. They had several soft boards for the volunteers that they allowed me to use. Ah! just to get in the water was wonderful. I did not care what board I had at that point. The waves were bigger than the days before the contest, but not as clean. There was a good rip going south. The temperature was more like 68, no need for the wetsuit. They had used plastic zip ties instead of a string to attach the leash to the board. It snapped on my second wave and I had to swim for it. Go back out? By the time I got all the way up the beach and the access ramp to see all of the foam boards with plastic zip ties, I said forget it and went back to my hotel.

I had my heat sheet and was to surf in heat two on the first day. The first heat was to begin at 11:00 AM. I got on the phone and called the airlines about my board and they still had not found it. I went to sleep that night having nightmares about foam boards and zip ties. In the morning, still no sign of my board, I chose to go to the contest site early instead of waiting for possible delivery of my board. They directed me to look behind one of the tents for a board. There was this big yellow board. It was a 10’0” or 11’0” looked to be about 5” thick what looked more like a big wave or stand up paddle board and that was it. I took it out for a practice session or I should say it took me. It paddled great going out. I would select that board for the Huntington Longboard Crew Paddle around the pier on New Years Day but not for anything else. I could not get it to turn which in certain conditions is okay, but the first day of the contest looked like 2-3 foot waves in the afternoon at Bolsa Chica, with 10-15 knot onshore winds.

Contest Day 1. Monday July 3, 2006: Things just could not be any worse for my heat. I did not advance past the first round. That was never my plan though. I was not there to compete against these women, the best women long boarders in the world. I went there to surf with them. During the contest heat I had both a right and a left take off which were identical. Up to the knees, try to turn the board, catch the rail, end of story. I needed a 3.70 to advance. Screw trying to turn the board. My next wave I was just going to try a parallel take off to the wave, having the board turned more in the right direction and just to go straight. No wave came before the buzzer sounded and I was done. I took a wave in after the buzzer, going straight in the white water where I did a switch stance and a sit backwards ride. I was disappointed that I could not have done more. I spent the rest of the day watching the contest and socializing with some of the other surfers in Surfers Village. They served lunch every day and it was actually good. Evian and Fosters were the sponsors so there was plenty of free water and Fosters beer. Surfer’s village was very accommodating with plenty of places to hang out. There was a VIP tent, A Media tent and a couple of other tents just for the surfers. There was a changing area and an area for free massage treatments. There were a couple of free coffee vending machines to get espresso in the mornings. A big screen where you could see surf videos, the actual surf contest or the band that was playing on stage. There was a band or some entertainment every evening and it was all free. It was a very well organized event and the location was perfect. Surf conditions are variable any place you go. It was small surf but it was pretty clean and consistent.

Contest Day 2. Tuesday July 4, 2006: I went to the venue early and the conditions were small but the waves were clean. Simone Robb from South Africa pulled off not one but 2 - 360’s on one wave to advance. That was so cool! My surfboard was still on the missing list. I took big yellow out again early and had the same results. I twisted my left knee trying and ended up barely able to ambulate for the rest of the day. After applying ice all day to my knee I returned to my hotel room that night still completely lame. My hotel room was not accessible and I had to leave my chair out in the hall. I have not had to do the butt scoot boogie in a long time but I did that night.  I decided to talk to God.” I came here to do something and I have not yet done what it is that I came here to do so please can I just finish” Scooting around my hotel room on my butt I turned over on to my knees and kneeled as far as the pain would allow, then I bounced a bit on my knee and crunch, game on!

I could walk and surf on my knee and ambulate a small amount with my braces again.
Contest Day 3. Wednesday July 5, 2006: Contest activities canceled due to poor conditions. I socialized with some of the surfers and rested my knee. I was being careful not to push it to the point of non-ambulation again.

Contest Day 4. Thursday July 6, 2006: Small clean conditions still no sign of my surfboard. I always went early to the venue to surf before the contest. I took big yellow out being careful of my knee. The water felt great but I still could not surf like myself. The competition was getting closer and more exciting to watch. During the day my board had been found and delivered to my room. When I got back to the room I began to inspect the bag that was torn in two places. I removed the board and assembled it making sure it was okay and no parts were lost or damaged. The board was fine.

Contest Day 5. Friday July 7, 2006: I took a cab today because I thought screaming down the hills at 30 mph in the wheelchair with the surfboard may be too dangerous. Small and clean again. Finally an opportunity to surf my board. I went out for a bit before the quarterfinals began. There was a concert at a beach amphitheater not far from the contest site that we all went to this evening. Our group was sitting in the middle of the sandy beach just behind Linda Benson and some of the Parents. Linda looked back at me and made mention that my being there in Biarritz, France, traveling alone took guts and she shook my hand.

Contest Day 6. Saturday July 8, 2006: The Semi and Finals. The waves were slightly bigger and continued to increase in size throughout the day. I do not think it got bigger than 1.5 meters though. Still clean with some pretty fun waves. The tides and surf changes so radically there but Schuyler McFerran surfed the most consistently throughout. All of the contest results, news and interviews are posted and can be read on the ASP website. Between the Semi-finals and the Finals they had an expression session. About 25 people signed up to surf in it. It was crowded. With the tide the conditions were not very good. I decided not to participate. After the Final the tide was changing, it was not crowded and it was looking like a lot of fun so I went out then.

I was surfing the best I had surfed in a long time in chest to head high sets. Wave after wave. I had a beautiful ride that I took nearly all the way in to the rocks to discover that most everyone in surfer’s village was watching me. I was riding waves, doing switch stance, floaters and re-entry, cutbacks even a hang 5. They were all cheering and carrying on. I had my own personal expression session and did one of the things I had set out to do. Disability awareness and education, changing the perception of what people think or know differently-abled people can do! The other surfers from the contest began popping up in the line up and then I had done one of the other things I had set out to do. I had surfed with some of the best women longboarders on the planet. I had accomplished and done everything I had set out to do.
Contest Day 7. Sunday July 9, 2006. On the way down to the contest this morning the street looked like the Tour De France. The shop owners were all waiting for me to wheel by and were cheering. They watched me fly down the hill and push back up the the hill twice daily all week. I arrived at the venue for my pre-contest surf session. Simone was there early too. We went for a surf together. On the schedule for today is some kind of tag team surf off. Seems like fun. This one involves running on the beach to do hand offs so you know I am not participating in this one. I am sitting this one out. I threw out my old nasty been in the water everyday shoes, changed my cloths, packed up my surfboard and made ready to leave the contest site for the last time. After the tag team competition some of the surfers and Linda Benson went out for a final surf session. It was my turn to sit on the wall in surfer’s village and cheer as Linda took wave after wave, having what appeared to be, a surf session similar to mine just the day before.

I got a ride with my board back to the Hotel and the event organizers were kind enough to arrange and provide transportation for me to get to the airport in the morning. It was an excellent trip. Not perfect but I got to do everything I wanted to do. My wheelchair held up for the entire trip. The bearings had finally disintegrated after I had connected to my final flight to LAX. I was treated with respect by the contest organizers and the other surfers. The flight back was uneventful and my luggage and surfboard were waiting for me at baggage claim. 

My surfing friends joke that I was a mermaid in another life and my rowing ability and strength earned me the Kraken nickname on my Great Britain row. The girls would say release the kraken when they could not get the anchor up or when they needed more power to the oar.

4. Please give us some details of your basic health habits.

I get up and sing that Carol King song like I used to do to my granddaughter when she would not get out of bed, goes like this: " you got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart, then people gonna treat you better, you're going to find, yes you will, that you are as beautiful, as you feel!

I choose the cycle of positivity and to move positively forward in my thinking and in my actions, it is a far more rewarding life style. I am self taught and imperfect but so far its working for me. I am always training for something, whether I have an event or not. I don't put anything into my lungs that is not air. I try for the most part to eat a balanced diet, there just has to be some dark chocolate and some red wine. I try to eliminate stress and alcohol or junk food I only consume in moderation.
5. Would you share some of what the experience of being on these ocean voyages has been for you? Some of your most vivid memories ( I mean, being a person who also loves the ocean, I find my passion inflamed by imaginings of the mental, physical and emotional challenges of such an expedition and also by romantic notions of rowing in the middle of the ocean in the middle of the night but I am also cognizant of the difficulties, real challenges and fearful conditions that also must be a part of your experience).

Moonrise over the ocean

There are amazing sun and moon rises and sun and moon sets, there are panoramic ocean views, sky can be brilliantly specked with stars or can be so dark and cloud-covered you cannot see your hand in front of your face. 

Extreme gratitude is what you feel when you get any amount of light to see at night. There is only a certain amount of serenity at night as it is mostly tempered with anxiety as the walls of water that are crashing down on you are highly anticipated yet invisible in the darkness. There is no way of knowing when, where or how, just that it will repeatedly beat you and knock you off your seat till you change watch. It can feel like the longest 2 hours of your life. 

See it coming or not, it will still knock you off your seat. Being that low to the water everyone gets soaked and everyone gets pelted with flying fish. There are fish around the boat constantly. Dolphins, whales, dorado, tuna, sea turtles, sharks, jelly fish, even saw a few Portuguese man of war on this one. 

We witnessed nature, the food chain or big fish eat little fish many times when the Dorado would hunt the flying fish and the shark would then hunt the Dorado. As our food supply began to dwindle we nearly participated by trying to catch a wounded dorado that was swimming at the back of our boat for protection from the shark that had injured it. We thought it much too risky since the shark was following closely, waiting for the kill and the inevitable demise of that beautiful fish. 

When the sky has shades of magenta in it at sunset, the reflection of the water will be like a liquid silver and when it is yellowish, the water looks like molten gold. 

You are like the wind and the water, always moving. The water changes color and salinity or level of salt content changes and with it changes the smell of the sea. There is no smell of land, no pollution, only humidity. 

Even the water you drink is desalinated ocean water with no chemicals or chlorine in it. I look out over the ocean and at the GPS and think how privileged I am to be able to be at this place and at this time where no human being has been or may ever be again and I am thankful for my life! 

Then back to reality, a piece of plastic trash floats by and I am, once again, disgusted by the human race.

Ocean sunset

Radiation Poisoning Primer with Treatment Protocol

Radiation Poisoning
There are two important concepts that help in understanding radiation: exposure and contamination. Both can occur when radioactive materials are released in a power plant emergency.

Radioactive materials give off a form of energy that travels in waves or particles. This energy is similar to an x-ray, and can penetrate the body. This exposure ends when the radioactive material is no longer present, for example, after the noble gases disperse. Some of the radioactive material deposited on the ground may also contribute to external exposure. You may hear this referred to as ground shine.

Contamination occurs when radioactive materials (dusts) are deposited on or in an object or person. External contamination occurs when radioactive material or dust comes into contact with a person’s skin hair or clothing.

People who are externally contaminated can become internally contaminated if radioactive materials get into their bodies. This could happen if people swallow or breathe in radioactive materials. Some types of radioactive materials stay in the body and are deposited in different body organs. Other types are eliminated from the body in blood, sweat, urine, and feces.

Limiting skin contamination: Both external and internal contamination can cause exposure to radioactive materials. Removing contaminated clothing and washing off the radioactive materials will minimize exposure from external contamination.

What is ionizing radiation?

  • When certain atoms disintegrate, either naturally or in man-made situations, they release a type of energy called ionizing radiation (IR). This energy can travel as either electromagnetic waves (gamma or X-rays) or as particles (neutrons, beta or alpha).
  • The atoms that emit radiation are called radionuclides.
  • The time required for the energy released by a radionuclide to decrease by half (i.e., the half-life) range from tiny fractions of a second to millions of years depending on the type of atoms.

What are potassium iodide pills?

  • Potassium iodide pills are a source of stable (i.e. non-radioactive) iodine. The thyroid gland requires iodine to produce thyroid hormones. The presence of stable iodine in the body in an appropriate amount blocks the thyroid from absorbing radioactive iodine (radioiodine), reducing the risk of thyroid cancer which may follow from exposure to radio iodine.
  • Potassium iodide pills are not radiation antidotes. They do not protect against external radiation, or against any other radioactive substances besides radioiodine. They may also cause medical complications for some individuals with poorly functioning kidneys. Potassium iodide should be taken only when there is a clear public health recommendation.

When and why should I take potassium iodide?

  • You should only take potassium iodide when it is recommended by public health authorities. If you are at risk or have been exposed to radioiodine, potassium iodide pills may be given to protect the thyroid gland from the uptake of radioiodine. This can reduce the risk of thyroid cancer in the long run, when given before or shortly after exposure.

Should I take iodized salt to protect myself from radiation?

  • No, you should not take iodized salt to protect yourself from radiation. It is dangerous to take large amounts of iodized salt in order to increase the amount of stable iodine in the body.
  • Increasing one's daily intake of iodized salt will cause more harm than good. The main ingredient of iodized salt is sodium chloride, which is linked with hypertension (high blood pressure) and other medical disorders. The iodine content in iodized salt is too low to prevent uptake of radio iodine.
  • Sodium chloride is acutely toxic in large amounts: even tablespoon quantities of salt repeatedly taken over a short period of time could cause poisoning.

Can I take other forms of iodine?

  • No, you should not take products that contain iodine, other than medicines recommended by public health authorities.
  • Iodine is found in a number of different household and industrial products. For example, iodine may be found in some disinfectants, antiseptics, and water-sterilizing solutions. These products should not be taken as an alternative to potassium iodide pills, because such products contain other ingredients that can be harmful if swallowed.

Can pregnant women take potassium iodide pills?

  • Yes, most pregnant women can take potassium iodide pills, following the instructions of public health authorities. Potassium iodide will cross the placenta and protect the thyroid of the growing foetus, as well as the mother.

Can breastfeeding women take potassium iodide?

  • Yes, most breastfeeding women can take potassium iodide, following the instructions of public health authorities.

How can I protect myself?

  • Keep you and your family informed by obtaining accurate and authoritative information (for example, information from authorities delivered by radio, TV or the Internet) and following your government's instructions.
  • The decision to stockpile or take potassium iodide tablets should be based on information provided by national health authorities who will be in the best position to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant these steps. 

Protocol to Treat Radiation Poisoning
There is no medicine that will effectively prevent nuclear radiations from damaging the human body cells that they strike. However, a salt of the elements potassium and iodine: potassium iodide (K1), taken orally even in very small quantities 1/2 hour to 1 day before radioactive iodines are swallowed or inhaled, prevents about 99% of the damage to the thyroid gland that otherwise would result. 

The thyroid gland readily absorbs both non-radioactive and radioactive iodine, and normally it retains much of this element in either or both forms. When ordinary, non-radioactive iodine is made available in the blood for absorption by the thyroid gland before any radioactive iodine is made available, the gland will absorb and retain so much that it becomes saturated with non-radioactive iodine. 

When saturated, the thyroid can absorb only about l% as much additional iodine, including radioactive forms that later may become available in the blood: then it is said to be blocked. Excess iodine in the blood is rapidly eliminated by the action of the kidneys.

By Prescription
With a prescription from a doctor, 130 mg tablets (standard) or a saturated solution of potassium iodide (K1) can be bought at many pharmacies today.

About 2 ounces of crystalline or granular potassium iodide is needed to fill a 2-fluid-ounce bottle about 60% full. Next, pour safe, room-temperature water into the bottle until it is about 90% full. Then close the bottle tightly and shake it vigorously for at least 2 minutes. Some of the solid potassium iodide should remain permanently undissolved at the bottom of the bottle; this is proof that the solution is saturated.

Experiments with a variety of ordinary household medicine droppers determined that 1 drop of a saturated solution of potassium iodide contains from 28 to 36 mg of potassium iodide. The recommended expedient daily doses of a saturated solution (approximately 130 mg for adults and children older than 12 years/ 65 mg for ages 3-12/ 32 mg for 1-36 months/ and 16 mg less than 1 month old) are as follows:

For adults and children older than 12 years: 4 drops of saturated solution of potassium iodide each 24 hours.

For children 3-12 years: 2 drops of saturated solution of potassium iodide each 24 hours.

For children 1-36 months: 1 drop saturated solution of potassium iodide.

Potassium iodide has a painfully bad taste, so bad that a single crystal or 1 drop of the saturated solution in a small child's mouth would make him cry. Some KI tablets are coated and tasteless. 

The following two methods of taking a saturated solution are recommended:

Put the recommended number of drops of the solution based on the age of the child into a glass of milk or other beverage, stir, and drink quickly. Then drink some of the beverage with nothing added. If only water is available, use it in the same manner.

Place the recommended number of drops of the solution on a small piece of bread. Dampen and mold it into a firm ball, about 1-2 cm in diameter. There is almost no taste if this pill is swallowed quickly with water.

NOTE: 4 drops of the saturated solution provide a dose approximately equal to 130 mg of potassium iodide.

Preparing potassium iodide (K1) tablets to give to infants and small children:
The official instructions for using KI tablets state that one half (1/2 or 65 mg) of a 130-mg tablet, first crushed, should be given every 24 hours to children 3-12 years of age, a quarter (1/4 or 32 mg) of a tablet should be crushed for children 1-36 months and an eighth (1/8 or 16 mg) of a 130 mg tablet for babies one month old and younger than one month old.

Putting even a small fraction of a crushed or pulverized potassium iodide tablet on one's tongue is a startling experience, with a burning sensation. A slightly burnt sensation continues for hours. Therefore, a mother is advised to make this experiment where her children cannot see her.

To eliminate the painfully bad taste of a crushed or pulverized KI tablet, first pulverize it thoroughly. Next stir it for a minute into at least 2 ounces of milk, orange juice, or cold drink, to make sure that the potassium iodide is completely dissolved. Then the taste is not objectionable. If only water is available, stir the pulverized tablet into more than 2 ounces of water.

KI is a corrosive salt, more injurious than aspirin to tissue with which it is in direct contact. Some doctors advise taking KI tablets after meals, except when so doing would delay taking the initial dose during an emergency. All recognize that taking a dilute solution of KI is easier on the stomach than taking the same dose in tablet form. This may be a consequential consideration when taking KI for weeks during a prolonged nuclear emergency.

Elemental (free) iodine is poisonous, except in the very small amounts in water disinfected with iodine tablets or a few drops of tincture of iodine. Furthermore, elemental iodine supplied by iodine tablets and released by tincture of iodine dropped into water is not effective as a blocking agent to prevent thyroid damage from radiation. If you do not have any potassium iodide: DO NOT TAKE IODINE TABLETS OR TINCTURE OF IODINE.

Without Prescription
Individuals can buy chemical reagent grade potassium iodide, that is purer than the pharmaceutical grade, from some chemical supply firms. To prepare a saturated solution of potassium iodide, fill a bottle about 60% full of crystalline or granular potassium iodide. A 2-fluid-ounce bottle, made of dark glass and having a solid, non-metallic, screw cap top, is a good size for a family.

About 2 ounces of crystalline or granular potassium iodide is needed to fill a 2-fluid-ounce bottle about 60% full. Next, pour safe, room-temperature water into the bottle until it is about 90% full. Then close the bottle tightly and shake it vigorously for at least 2 minutes. Some of the solid potassium iodide should remain permanently undissolved at the bottom of the bottle; this is proof that the solution is saturated.

World Health Organization recommended dosage of potassium iodide for radiological emergencies involving radioactive iodine:

Potassium iodide (K1)

Over 12 years old
3 – 12 years old
1 – 36 months old
1 month old

How and when to take Potassium iodide (K1)
Potassium iodide should be taken as soon as possible after public health officials tell you. You should take one dose every 24 hours. More will not help you because the thyroid can hold only limited amounts of iodine. Larger doses will increase the risk of side effects. You will probably be told not to take the drug for more than 10 days.

Side Effects  
Usually, side effects of potassium iodide happen when people take higher doses for a long time. You should be careful not to take more than the recommended dose or take it for longer than you are told. Side effects are unlikely because of the low dose and the short time you will be taking the drug.

Possible side effects include skin rashes, swelling of the salivary glands, and iodism: metallic taste, burning mouth and throat, sore teeth and gums, symptoms of a head cold, and sometimes stomach upset and diarrhea.

A few people have an allergic reaction with more serious symptoms. These could be fever and joint pains, or swelling of parts of the face and body and at times severe shortness of breath requiring immediate medical attention.

Taking iodide may rarely cause overactivity of the thyroid gland, underactivity of the thyroid gland, or enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter).

What to do if side effects occur
If the side effects are severe or if you have an allergic reaction, stop taking potassium iodide. Then call a doctor or public health authority for instructions.

Signs and Symptoms of Radiation Poisoning
Radiation sickness is generally associated with acute (a single large) exposure. Nausea and vomiting are usually the main symptoms. 

The amount of time between exposure to radiation and the onset of the initial symptoms may be an indicator of how much radiation was absorbed, as symptoms appear sooner with higher doses of exposure. The symptoms of radiation sickness become more serious (and the chance of survival decreases) as the dosage of radiation increases. 

A few symptom-free days may pass between the appearance of the initial symptoms and the onset of symptoms of more severe illness associated with higher doses of radiation. Nausea and vomiting generally occur within 24–48 hours after exposure to mild (1–2 Sv) doses of radiation. Radiation damage to the intestinal tract lining will cause nausea, bloody vomiting and diarrhea. This occurs when the victim's exposure is 200 rems (1 Sv = 100 rems) or more. The radiation will begin to destroy the cells in the body that divide rapidly. These including blood, GI tract, reproductive and hair cells, and harms the DNA and RNA of surviving cells. 

Headache, fatigue, and weakness are also seen with mild exposure. Moderate (2–3.5 Sv of radiation) exposure is associated with nausea and vomiting beginning within 12–24 hours after exposure. In addition to the symptoms of mild exposure, fever, hair loss, infections, bloody vomit and stools, and poor wound healing are seen with moderate exposure. Nausea and vomiting occur in less than 1 hour after exposure to severe (3.5–5.5 Sv) doses of radiation, followed by diarrhea and high fever in addition to the symptoms of lower levels of exposure. 

Very severe (5.5–8 Sv of radiation) exposure is followed by the onset of nausea and vomiting in less than 30 minutes followed by the appearance of dizziness, disorientation, and low blood pressure in addition to the symptoms of lower levels of exposure. Severe exposure is fatal about 50% of the time.

Note: Click on this live link (1 Sv = 100 rems)  for more information about the sievert measurement of radiation. 

Alternative Medicine For Radiation Poisoning
Diethylenetriamine Pentaacidic Acid (DTPA) absorbs isotopes that Prussian blue cannot. DTPA absorbs radioactive heavy metals like plutonium, curium (named after Marie Curie), and americium. These metals are bound to the DTPA, which the kidneys then process, eventually passing the radioactive waste through the body as urine.

Prussian blue is a dye that can bind with certain radioactive materials like cesium and thallium. If you suspect that you are suffering from radiation poisoning due to inhalation or ingestion, then a doctor may administer doses of Prussian blue to prevent absorption by body tissue. The dye will bind with radioactive material and pass through the intestinal tract. Prussian blue is safe for everyone from the ages two and up (including pregnant women). Dose sizes are not established for children under two, but Prussian blue is assumed safe.

Natural News: Nuclear Contamination Treatment

What About Radiation From Cell Phone Use?

Cell phone radiation refers to radiation in the form of electromagnetic waves that is emitted from mobile phones. This type of radiation takes the form of radio waves that are near the microwave range. The amount of cell phone radiation that a given device will emit depends on the exact frequency of the radiation, as well as whether the device is using an analog signal or a digital one. There has been speculation that large amounts of cell phone radiation could be hazardous to the user's health, but there are no conclusive scientific findings on the subject.

There is a degree of controversy surrounding the implications of cell phone radiation, and what it means to our health. Some research has suggested that the type of radio frequencies used by cell phones can speed up the progression of cancer in laboratory test animals, but it has proven difficult to replicate these results. It is known that cell phone radiation can affect pacemakers, but the main concern is related to the fact that most cell phone users hold the phone against their ear. If significant levels of radiation enter the tissues of the head in this way over time, some worry that this can increase the likelihood of brain tumors and related conditions.

When we think of harmful radiation, things like X-rays or gamma rays usually come to mind, but these types of radiation are different from cell phone radiation in important ways. Radiation on the ultraviolet side of visible light, like those types just mentioned, has a wavelength that is short enough to alter some of the chemical properties of the objects it interacts with. It is referred to as ionizing radiation, for this reason. Non-ionizing radiation, which includes visible light, microwaves and radio waves, is typically regarded as harmless. Large amounts of it can produce a heating effect, like in a microwave oven, but no short-term damage has been linked to exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

The electromagnetic spectrum: radio waves, microwaves,
Infrared radiation, visible light, ultra-violet, X-rays, Gamma rays

Since cell phone radiation is non-ionizing, it is generally seen as being harmless in the short term. The question is whether long-term exposure poses any risk. Whether or not it does is unknown, but as cell phone usage continues to expand worldwide, more information will likely become available regarding this issue.

The exact source of radiation in a cell phone is from the transmitter, a device located near the antenna that converts audio data into electromagnetic waves. The amount of radiation a cell phone can emit is limited by legal restrictions in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Additionally, the average radiation levels of most mobile phones are available to the public, courtesy of the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S.

The best method of cell phone radiation protection is to keep the phone as far from the body as possible while it is turned on. Keeping calls short as well as making them from good reception areas will also reduce exposure. Texting requires shorter bursts of radiation than talking and puts more distance between a person's body and the phone. When shopping for a new phone, individuals should be sure to research how much power each model puts out. Frequent cell phone users should also utilize a headset and the built-in speaker phone to keep the handset at a distance.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Center For Marine and Environmental Radiation has both the experience and facilities to monitor and track the spread of radionuclides released from Fukushima in the waters of the Pacific Coast of North America. The Institution and the Center for Marine and Environmental Radiation (CMER) are uniquely equipped to provide consistent, accurate assessment of both natural and manmade radiation in marine samples and is hosting this site to make this information readily available to everyone in a timely manner. 

World Health Organization 

Atmospheric circulation weather systems - W to E

The jet streams are narrow bands of strong winds (a few hundred kilometres wide), traveling (160-320 Km/hr - minimum 110 Km/hr) west to east, 10 Km above earth, between cold and warm air masses. The jet streams depend on the temperature difference between the air masses for movement; the greater the temperature difference, the faster this river of air moves.

International Atomic Energy Agency