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Total-Body Exposure

When we say that there was exposure of the total body, we have two different situations to consider. One is the case where there is a source of radiation outside our body and it is exposing our whole body all at the same time. An example of this is cosmic radiation; it exposes our whole body all at once. The other case is when we have a source of radiation inside our body and it exposes most or the entire main trunk of the body as it travels through. An example of this would be the radioactive material (radioiodine) used to treat thyroid disorders. Although the radioactive material ends up concentrating in the thyroid, it first travels throughout the body. So, while the thyroid gets most of the radiation dose from the energy left by the radiation, the whole body gets some dose also because the radioactive material went everywhere in the body before it went to the thyroid.

When the total body is exposed, so are critical organs. Health effects, in this case, will depend on the radiation dose received by the critical organs.