Thyroid Shields Offer Protection for Healthcare Workers

health care workersRadiation security is a matter of personal as well as occupational safety for any technologist, nurse or doctor who deals on a day-to-day basis with radiology equipment. When X-rays are used, for example , having a lead apron, lead glasses, table drapes and patient shield, the thyroid shield is only one of several safety devices used. Why should staff be worried about exposing radiation to their thyroid gland? Located at the base of the neck, this butterfly-shaped gland produces hormones that control the metabolism, development and energy levels of the body. You can get additional information at

Healthcare staff whose thyroid is exposed on an ongoing basis to radiation risk losing thyroid function over a period of time without throat protection. Failure to regularly wear a shield can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition in which not enough hormones are released by the thyroid gland. Tiredness, memory and hair loss , depression, weight gain and irritability are symptoms. In rare cases, working with radiation will potentially lead to thyroid cancer without a thyroid shield.

Any healthcare worker who wants to wear radiation protection should look for a shield that is lightweight and easy to wear. In the pursuit of his or her duties, any form of radiation protection worn does not limit or restrict the movement of the doctor , nurse or technologist. In general, Shields feature hook and loop closures to allow the shield to be taken on and off quickly and easily as required, providing a tight and secure fit. For those who prefer them, shields with a buckle closure are also available.

Some shields providing radiation protection to the thyroid may also be attached to the lead apron of the health care worker with a double ring closure, so that the shield will not be forgotten or misplaced any time the apron is worn. Using both leaded and non-leaded defence materials, shields are available. In order to accommodate wider neck sizes, thyroid shields or collars come in one-size-fits-all, but oversized versions are available.

The thyroid shield is only one part of a wardrobe for full body radiation protection that should be insisted upon wearing by any healthcare worker dealing with X-rays. Thyroid shields or collars are a required protective measure for all healthcare workers exposed during their employment to radiation.