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Aerosols: Solid and liquid airborne particles, typically ranging in size from 0.001 to 100 μm. Mists, fumes, and dusts are all examples of aerosols.

Alpha Particles: The largest and weakest radioactive particles and comprised of two protons plus two neutrons. Alpha particles do not travel far and are stopped by virtually any physical barrier. Internalized alpha particles can cause significant cellular damage.

BCN: Acronym for biological, chemical, nuclear.

Beta Particles: High-energy electron or positron (a positively charged electron) emitted from a nucleus with a variable amount of energy usually as a result of radioactive fallout and capable of traveling a meter through air and many millimeters into tissue. Internalized beta particles cause extensive damage to the tissues.

Bioterrorism: The intentional use of any microorganism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product to cause death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism. Commonly used, as in the case with this book, to also encompass chemical and radiological terrorism as well.

Contact Precautions: Contact precautions include standard precautions plus placing patients in a private or semiprivate room; wearing gloves and gown if contact with the patient is anticipated or if the patient has diarrhea; a colostomy or drainage of a wound not covered by a dressing; limiting the movement or transport of the patient from the room; and ensuring bedside equipment, frequently touched surfaces and other patient-care items are being cleaned daily. Contact precautions are recommended for patients with severe gastrointestinal, dermatologic, or wound infections that may be transmitted easily by touching the patient or by handling objects the patient has touched, especially if the infection is caused by a multidrug-resistant organism.

Diffusion: The movement of fluid particles from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration.

Dose–Response: A gradient of risk or effect that is associated with the “dose” or degree of exposure. The therapeutic (or toxic) effect of material absorbed over a given period (the dose) varies according to the circumstances of exposure.

Epidemic: The occurrence in a community or region of a group of similar conditions of public health importance in excess of normal expectancy and derived from a common source.

Gamma Rays: Deeply penetrating energy waves similar to x-rays but higher in energy (therefore of a shorter wavelength), capable of traveling many centimeters into tissues and causing ionization. Emitted from the nucleus of a radioactive atom.

Gas: Formless fluids that tend to occupy an entire space uniformly under ordinary temperatures.

Half-Life: The time taken for the activity of a radionuclide to lose half its value by decay.

HAN (Health Alert Network): Restricted website designed for state and local health directors to securely view posted documents, submit/collect data, obtain town/district specific aggregate data, enter planned absences, e-mail, view bulletin ...

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