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When it comes to a nuclear explosion most people don’t know where to even begin when it comes to what they should do to protect themselves and their families. Regardless of how big the explosion is, being aware of what to do and what not to do can be the difference in whether or not you lose your life.

Energy from a nuclear explosion is for the most part released in several forms of radiation. An intense fireball forms and it becomes brighter than anything you could ever imagine. Blast waves in and of themselves can literally flatten entire cities and if you’re too close to the area in which the explosion happens, you will most likely lose your life or wish you were.

In regards to how nuclear radiation affects the body, USA Today wrote as follows:

Nuclear bombs release what are called ionizing radiation, says Steve Simon, a radiation health physicist at the National Cancer Institute. “So these gamma rays are a lot like X-rays but they’re much more powerful, much more energetic,” he adds, explaining that gamma rays can knock electrons out of atoms in our bones, skin and any materials they pass through. “It’s actually those electrons that do the damage to the cells of the body, it’s not the gamma rays directly.”

Nuclear fallout can also enter our bodies through the food we eat, he says. “So it’s not the radiation that contaminates the plants, but it is the fallout material, it’s the debris, it’s this radioactive material. Once it enters the food chain, then it can travel. It can go through the food chain in steps, it can be diluted or can be concentrated, depending on the kind of food, and eventually can be consumed by man or animals.”

Below I am going to go over some of the things you should remember to NOT do when any kind of nuclear explosion occurs. While it might sound like a good idea to do things that other people do, not everyone is as guided as they believe they are. Nuclear explosions are not the same as other disasters and should not be treated as such.

9 Things That You Should Never Do After A Nuclear Explosion:

1. Don’t eat any uncovered food or crops from outside.

Uncovered food or crops especially those that are found outside can be and usually are contaminated and should not be eaten. While you’re going to be hungry looking for a source of sustenance elsewhere is your best best. Opt for foods that are packaged and that have been placed at least inside out of the serious exposure zones.

2. Do not seek shelter in any kind of vehicle.

Being in your vehicle is one of the last places you want to be when a nuclear explosion has happened. Cars have glass windows and metal frames which make it easier for radiation to get to you. When it comes to this kind of thing you are going to want to find a building with a basement that is closed off from the outside world.

3. Don’t keep all your clothes on.

When this kind of thing happens during your time trying to get away there is no doubt that your clothes are going to get some kind of fallout on them. The sooner you change clothes the better. While it might be the last thing on your mind, it is something you need to do.

4. Do not go outside unless you absolutely have to.

Stay inside as much as possible. Unless it cannot be avoided, do not go outside period. Wait until things have at least died down for the most part. While it will feel like you’ve been inside forever, as long as you have what you need you will be fine. The only time you should move locations is if you absolutely have to.

5. Do not use your phone (if it isn’t fried already).

While your phone might not work at all during this ordeal if it does you need to keep your battery as charged as possible. Do not waste any power you have and make sure your phone on you at all times. You’re not going to have any chances to recharge so you need to do your best to make the most of the little bit you have left.

6. Don’t put off showering and do not keep the same clothes on after exposure.

When you’re exposed to this kind of thing washing off is a big deal. Make sure that you do-so after any kind of exposure to the outside world and do not forget to change your clothes. Radiation is not something to joke about and while you might not be able to see it, it will be all around you.

7. Do not use conditioner on your hair when you shower.

Using conditioner makes it easier for radioactive materials to bind to your hand as residue stays present in your hair even after you’ve rinsed it out. This is something you should avoid big time. While you might want to use conditioner and feel ‘normal’ there is no point in risking it.

8. Don’t go home until officials say it’s alright too and even then be cautious.

While it might seem like the problem is all over, as noted above radioactivity is not something you can just see. You have to be cautious and stay as far away from the areas affected as possible. This kind of thing doesn’t just go away overnight.

9. Don’t go out searching for people.

Sure, you’re going to wonder where your loved ones are and you’re going to want to go get them but putting yourself in danger is only going to do more harm than good. Stay in a safe place until you can get to them and remain as strong as possible. Even just peeking outside can do more harm than you could ever imagine.