The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends this position because it will keep your hands, arms, and face away from any flying debris or sweltering heat that could burn your skin. Once shockwaves have subsided, you can get up and look for shelter. Read more: If a nuclear bomb is dropped on your city, here's where you should run and hideDepending on how close you are to a nuclear explosion, it might be impossible to avoid the initial burst of light, which can blind you for about 15 seconds to a minute. But for those located farther away, it's best to avert and cover your eyes, according to the CDC. A 1-megaton bomb (that's about 80 times larger than the Little Boy atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima), could temporarily blind people up to 13 miles away on a clear day, and up to 53 miles away on a clear night. If you have a scarf or handkerchief nearby at the time of a nuclear explosion, it's wise to cover your nose and mouth. Even before fallout reaches the ground, an explosion stirs up other debris that might be dangerous to breathe in. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises people not to shelter in their vehicles. Cars' glass windows and metal frames make them too flimsy to protect you from nuclear fallout. Driving away is also futile, since it's tough to anticipate where radiation will travel. The one exception to this rule is ducking inside your car in an underground parking garage, which could provide an added layer of protection. FEMA identifies brick or concrete buildings as the safest forms of shelter after a nuclear attack. Ideally, the best shelter would have few to no windows and a basement for camping out. Schools or offices usually meet these criteria. Mobile homes, however, are considered too fragile to offer enough protection. If there aren't any sturdy buildings within 15 minutes of where you're standing, it's better to find some form of shelter than stay outside. If you discover that there's a safer building close by, wait at least an hour before attempting to move. By that time, the potential radiation exposure would likely have decreased by around 55%.If you take cover in multi-story building, choose a central location and steer clear of the top and bottom floors. If your structure has windows, FEMA advises standing far away from them, in the center of a room. That's because shockwaves can shatter windows up to 10 miles from an explosion, resulting in flying glass that could injure people who are too close.Heat or air conditioning units pull in air from the outside, so they could spread contaminated particles throughout your home or shelter.The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends staying indoors for at least 24 hours in the event of a nuclear explosion. After 48 hours, the exposure rate from a 10-kiloton explosion (the type that might damage but not destroy a city) goes down to just 1%. While sheltering is a priority for protecting public health, it goes against natural instincts, a collection of government agencies wrote in a 2010 report. After a nuclear detonation, people will need to understand why they and their families are safest staying sheltered.People who were outside during an explosion should shower as soon as possible, making sure the water is warm and soap is applied gently. Scrubbing too hard could break your skin, which acts as a natural protective barrier. You should also cover any cuts or abrasions while you're rinsing off. For those without access to a shower, FEMA recommends using a sink or faucet. The next-best option is to clean your body with a wipe or wet cloth. Blowing your nose and wiping your ears and eyelids is important, since debris could get stuck in these orifices.Rinsing your hair with shampoo is critical after being exposed to radiation, but conditioner is a major no-no, according to the CDC. That's because conditioners carry compounds called cationic surfactants, which bind to radioactive particles and can trap them in your hair. They'd essentially act like glue between your hair and radioactive material. As a general rule, it's best to only use products on your body that are designed to get rinsed off in the aftermath of a nuclear disaster. Items like body lotion and face cream should wait until a second or third wish. Read more: The US government warns people against using conditioner after a nuclear explosion. It could trap radiation in your hair.Because outer layers of clothing would likely be contaminated by fallout, the CDC recommends sealing them in a plastic bag that's out of the reach of children and pets. You should also seal off any tissues or cloths used to wipe your body or face. Following any kind of nuclear explosion, the CDC says it's alright to consume food from sealed containers such packages, bottles, or cans. You can also eat things from your pantry or refrigerator, as long as you wipe off food containers, cookware, counters, and utensils. But anything that was left uncovered, especially if it was outdoors — such as fruits or veggies from a garden — would be unsafe to eat.Nuclear explosions produce a powerful phenomenon called a nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP), an invisible burst of energy that can slash power, phone, and internet lines. A nuclear EMP could also disrupt radio waves, but that's less likely, since radios have a simpler circuitry. So in the wake of an explosion, emergency-response officials will likely broadcast safety instructions over the radio. Unless these officials tell you it's safe to go outside, it's best to stay put until the risk of contamination has gone down.