GUIDELINES for CAREGIVERS and PATIENTS RECEIVING RADIOIODINE
The thyroid gland accumulates iodine entering your body in foods you eat and uses this iodine
to perform its normal functions. The thyroid processes radioiodine capsules in a similar
manner. The radiation given off by this form of iodine decreases the function of the thyroid
cells and inhibits their ability to grow, which is the desired medical effect of this treatment
ordered by your doctor. However, some of the radioiodine will leave your body in the form of
urine, sweat and saliva, and individuals who are in close physical contact with you may be
exposed to small amounts of low level radiation. There is no evidence that such exposure has
caused harm, but efforts should be made to avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation.
You can reduce radiation to yourself and others by using the following guidelines.
1. Avoid prolonged physical contact with others, particularly with children and pregnant
women, for the first three days. Try to keep the time you spend in close contact (less then 1
meter) with other people to a minimum for one week.
2. If possible, for one week after receiving your treatment try to follow the points noted below:
• Sleep alone.
• Drink plenty of fluids, such as water and juice, to help you urinate more frequently.
This will help the radioiodine leave your body more quickly, thus lowering the amount
in your body.
• Flush the toilet two times after each use to dilute any residual urine in the toilet bowl.
Males should sit when urinating to avoid splashing.
• Wash your hands with plenty of soap and water each time go to the toilet.
• Rinse the bathroom sink, tub and shower thoroughly after using them.
• Reserve a bathroom for your own personal use, if possible.
• Use disposable or separate eating utensils and wash them separately.
• Launder your clothes, bedclothes, towels, etc., separate from the clothes of anyone else.
3. You are required to stop breast-feeding before receiving your treatment.
4. Females and males should discuss with their doctor the possible delay of initiating
5. If you get sick and throw-up the capsule, try to do so in a toilet or sink, or into a disposable
container. Call the Nuclear Medicine Department so that they will know that you no longer
have the capsule inside you. This is extremely rare and is usually caused by food or
sickness unrelated to the capsule.
Be sure to discuss your questions and concerns with your doctor prior to arriving to the Nuclear
Medicine Department for you Treatment. Please do not hesitate to contact the Nuclear Medicine
Department at the Markham Stouffville Hospital (905) 472-7000 ext. 6511 for any further
My appointment for thyroid treatment is scheduled on:
Date: ________________________________ Time: ______________
Please check-in and register at the Diagnostic Imaging desk, at Markham Stouffville