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The Dangers of Sun Poisoning


WRITTEN BY: Urgent Care
Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Sunburn can result from as little as 15 minutes under the sun and causes symptoms such as skin redness, pain, and small blisters. If symptoms worsen, it could be sun poisoning – a severe form of sunburn.Sun poisoning is caused by long-term overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, while not wearing adequate skin protection. It causes whole-body reactions such as swelling, large blisters, headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, and dehydration.

If not treated early and properly, sun poisoning can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.

A special type of sun poisoning is polymorphous light eruption (PMLE), which is a skin reaction to the sun  for people that aren’t used to intense sunlight. This mostly affects fair-skinned individuals who live in northern climates. Common symptoms include severe skin rash, hives, and dense clumps of bumps. PMLE is also inherited through Native Americans and symptoms can last from spring until fall.

Here are some simple home remedies to help heal sun poisoning:

  • Avoid popping any blisters or scratching the rash.
  • Take a cool (not cold) bath or apply cool compresses to soothe the swelling.
  • Take ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen to relieve pain.
  • Apply hydrocortisone cream to relieve pain and itching.
  • Drink extra fluids for a few days.
  • Cover sunburned areas and put on sunscreen before going outside.

Seek immediate medical attention if the sunburn covers a large part of the body, there is a lot of pain, or symptoms worsen.

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