Potassium Iodide (KI) Pre-Distribution
What is this service?
This service provides information on how to obtain a personal supply of Potassium Iodide (KI). The Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program manages the pre-distribution of Potassium Iodide (KI).
Potassium Iodide should only be taken when directed by the Health Officer.
Potassium iodide protects the thyroid gland against exposure to radioactive iodine in the unlikely event of a radiological release from a nuclear power plant emergency at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Our supply is NOT intended to be given out for any radiological emergency around the world.
Potassium iodide is not an "anti-radiation" pill. It is a supplemental protective measure, secondary to evacuation or sheltering in place. Evacuation and sheltering in place remain the primary protective actions during a radiological emergency. If taken in an appropriate and timely dosage, potassium iodide can block exposure of the thyroid gland to radioactive iodine. However, potassium iodide does not protect other parts of the body from exposure to other contaminants released during the emergency.
Potassium Iodide should only be taken when directed by the Health Officer.
Who can use this service?
If you live or work within Protective Action Zones (PAZs) 1 through 12, you may obtain your personal supply of Potassium Iodide.
Is there a charge for this service?
This service is provided free of charge.
What is the process?
Step 1: Obtain Voucher
Download a Potassium Iodide voucher from this link
* A voucher can also be found in the San Luis Obispo County Calendar, published annually by the Office of Emergency Services in conjunction with PG&E. This calendar is mailed to all postal customers within the Public Education Zone (PEZ).
Step 2: Fill out one voucher for all household members
- Fill out the PAZ number in which you live or work. Refer to the PAZ map to determine your zone.
- Fill in the number of Adults, Children who weigh less than 150 pounds and Children who weigh more than 150 pounds.
Step 3: Pick up KI from a Pre-distribution location
Bring your identification and your completed voucher to:
County of SLO Public Health Department Locations
Grover Beach: 286 S. 16th St.
Morro Bay: 760 Morro Bay Blvd.
San Luis Obispo: 2191 Johnson Ave.
When and where is this service offered?
This service is available throughout the year during regular business hours except during scheduled holidays at the following locations:
- San Luis Obispo Public Health Department, 2191 Johnson Ave., San Luis Obispo
(805) 781-5500 Monday - Friday, 8am to 5pm
- Grover Beach Public Health Department, 286 S. 16th St., Grover Beach
(805) 473-7050 Monday - Thursday 8am - Noon, 1pm - 5pm
- Morro Bay Public Health Department, 760 Morro Bay Blvd., Morro Bay
(805) 781-5500 Tuesday 8:00am- Noon; 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Location, directions and hours of operation
Click on location name to show hours of operation, directions and phone information
Public Health Department SLO Clinic
Monday - Friday 8-5 (except Holidays)
2191 Johnson Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Tel: (805) 781-5500
Fax: (805) 781-5543
Frequently Asked Questions
What is potassium iodide (KI) used for?
Potassium iodide protects the thyroid gland against exposure to radioactive iodine in the unlikely event of a radiation release from a nuclear power plant emergency. If taken in a appropriate and timely dosage, potassium iodide can block exposure of the thyroid gland to radioactive iodine. Potassium iodide is a supplemental protective measure, it is NOT an anti-radiation pill.
Who can take potassium iodide (KI)?
Most people can take potassium iodide without side effects. A small number of people could have adverse reaction. Anyone with an existing thyroid gland condition or anyone allergic to iodine should NOT take it. Consult your physician if unsure whether you should take potassium iodide.
What are the side effects of potassium iodide (KI)?
Side effects are unlikely because of the low dose and the short time you will take the drug.
Possible side effects include skin rashes, swelling of the salivary glands, and "iodism" (metallic taste, burning mouth and throat, sore teeth and gums, symptoms of a head cold and sometimes stomach upset and diarrhea. A few people have an allergic reaction with more serious symptoms. Those could be fever and joint pain, or swelling of parts of the face and body and at times severe shortness of breath requiring immediate medical attention.
Taking iodide may rarely cause over activity, under activity or enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter.)
If the side effects are severe of if you have an allergic reaction, stop taking potassium iodide and call a doctor or public health authority for instructions.
What would happen if I took KI without being told to?
It is very unlikely that you would suffer any ill effects if you took potassium iodide (KI) because of a false alarm or "just in case" you thought a radiological emergency was under way. The potassium iodide would simply pass through the body in a day or two.
How will I know if and when to take KI?
Potassium Iodide (KI) should only be ingested upon the direction of the San Luis Obispo County Health Officer following an Emergency at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant. Any recommendation would be announced through the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the media.
How much KI should I take?
One Tablet = 65 milligrams of KI
|Adults 18 Years and Older
|Pregnant or Nursing Women
|Adolescents 12-18 Years Old
||One to Two Tablets*
|Children 3-13 Years Old
|Children 1 Mo. to 3 Years Old
|Infants, Birth to 1 Month
|* Adolescents approaching adult size (equal to or greater than 150 pounds) should receive the full adult dose.
|** In the first few weeks of life an infant is more prone to developing thyroid problems from too large a dose. In this age group it is important not to give more than directed and to see a physician to check the thyroid within a week of or two after the dose is given. After the first month, side effects or complications of too much iodine are unlikely. When directed to give KI in an emergency it may be better to give children over 1 month a larger dose than none at all if it is difficult to precisely divide the dose.
Do not give solid tablets to children under 3 as they may cause choking. To help make KI easier for children (3-13) to take, crush one tablet in a small bowl and add 4 teaspoons of water, stir until dissolved then add 4 teaspoons of flavored drink such as juice, flat cola or chocolate milk or formula (to hide the taste.) Then give the child the following amount:
· Age 3-12 years – drink entire mixture = to one 65 mg tablet
· Age 1 month to 3 years – 4 teaspoons of the mixture = to ½ tablet or 32.5 mg
· Age birth to 1 month – 2 teaspoons of the mixture = to ¼ tablet or 16.25 mg
Is this program mandatory?
No, this is a voluntary program for those who work or reside in a PAZ (zones 1-12).
If I receive KI from this program, is there a cost?
No. Pre-distribution of KI tablets is free, while supplies last.
How old must I be to pick up KI?
Recipients must be 18 years or older to pick up a supply of KI. Identification will be requested.
Can I pick up enough KI for my entire household?
Yes, be sure to indicate the number of individuals on your voucher.
What documentation is needed to pick up KI?
- Valid identification showing you are 18 years or older.
- The completed Voucher for Potassium Iodide (KI) for General Population
- Proof that you live or work within the PAZ (zones 1 - 12) - for example a utility bill, Driver's License, State ID etc.
Where can I get a voucher?
You can get a voucher by:
Will KI be distributed during an emergency?
KI will NOT be distributed during an emergency, so please plan ahead!
Is there someplace where I can purchase KI?
Potassium iodide can be ordered from several commercial manufactures by telephone, mail, or via the Internet. You may call the following numbers for information regarding FDA approved products.
- Iosat (Anbex, Inc.), 1-866-463-6754.
- Thyroshield, (636) 343-8200
Where can I get additional information?
Additional information is available on the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services website at: www.caloes.ca.gov.