Information If You Go Home Immediately After Receiving RAI
As your doctor will have explained to you, you will be receiving radioactive iodine as your treatment. Radioactive iodine decreases the function of thyroid cells and inhibits their ability to grow. It is given to you in liquid or pill form and goes directly to the thyroid gland where it is absorbed by the thyroid tissue. Most of the radioactive iodine will be received by your thyroid gland. Any radioactive iodine not collected by the thyroid gland will be eliminated during the first few days through urine, feces, saliva and sweat. The following steps listed below will help assure that the excreted radiation from your body does not contaminate the environment or cause harm to other people.
For information about possible side effects of radioactive iodine, see the information below in the section about the hospital stay.
What do I do at home?
If you go home immediately after a treatment dose, use the following guidelines regarding distance, time, and hygiene.
Minimize contact (less than 3 feet or 0.6 meter for more than 1 hour each day) with everyone for the first five days, and with small children or pregnant women for eight days.
Do not sit next to someone in an automobile for more than one hour.
Sleep in a separate room and use separate bath linen and launder these and underclothing separately for one week.
Wash your hands with soap and plenty of water every time you use the toilet.
Rinse the sink and tub thoroughly after using them.
Use separate eating utensils or disposable eating utensils. Wash eating utensils separately for one week. Do not prepare food for others.
Flush toilet 2-3 times after use for two weeks after discharge.
Males should sit when urinating to avoid splashing for one week.
Discuss with your doctor how long you should wait before starting a pregnancy after your treatment (usually at least two months for males and six months for females).
If you are breastfeeding, it should be discontinued, but can be resumed for subsequent childbirths.
Thank you for your comments, but was that purple pill radioactive iodine. The person who gave it to me did not speak English well. He monitored my thyroid with a canister-like machine for about two minutes, and then gave me the pill and told me in halting English not to eat or drink anything for three hours and not to eat shell fish for that time. Did I misunderstand? He said nothing about isolation. Please be specific. I must go back on Saturday and the receptionist said something about coming in at 10:00 a.m. and then again four hours later. Please give me a specific answer, as I am not isolated from my husband.
I would call them and ask them what they gave you. Seems to me if you were Radio Active, they would have taken the necessary precautions to let you know.
I really don't have more specific information to tell you. I am new at this Thyroid disorder, however, I have done many hours of research because I want to know.
Good luck with your test on Saturday.
I think maybe they gave you the tracer dose which is a small enough dose that you don't have to be isolated. When you have your scan they can see where there was any uptake and then determine if you need the big dose. If you were given a dose of RAI that required you to be isolated they would have told you. Repeatedly. And they would have given you a mountain of literature on the precautions. And they would have had you leave the place in a way where you wouldn't have come in contact with others.
Thank you both for the information, and also to others who were able to give me advice. I called this morning and was told that it was just diagnostic and that when I receive treatment, as Liz94 said, they will give me lots of information. I was in a panic last night and did not mean to be ungrateful to you KatherineElaine. I was worried about my family. I really appreciate your answers and you as well as the other members of the forum. I hope I will be helpful to others as I learn more and more about this condition.