Sun poisoning is an extreme case of sunburn, a burn that occurs when\u00a0UV radiation\u00a0inflames your skin. It begins with symptoms similar to sunburn, and so it often goes unnoticed, leading to more severe symptoms and dangerous situations.\nSun poisoning is most common during the summer months and in sunny areas. Those with a lighter skin tone, specifically redheads, are most susceptible to sun poisoning.\nThis is because their body has not had a chance to produce melanin, the pigment that absorbs UV light and darkens skin (tans) to form a protective layer.\nRELATED:\u00a05 Common Sunscreen and Sun Protection Mistakes\nSun Poisoning Symptoms\nIt can take fewer than 15 minutes to get a sunburn. Any prolonged time outside could result in severe sunburn, or sun poisoning. The short-term negative effects of sun poisoning manifest themselves for the next four to seven days, with more severe long-term effects extending beyond the first week.\nThe main symptom of sunburn is a burning \u201crash\u201d where the skin reddens, dries up and peels off. More severe symptoms of sun poisoning include:\n\nSwelling\nLarge blisters\nHeadache\nFever\nDizziness\nNausea\nRapid pulse and breathing\nFainting\nDehydration\n\nSun poisoning symptoms can last anywhere from two to three days, or they may persist for weeks. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. If not treated early and properly, sun poisoning can increase the risk of developing\u00a0skin cancer.\nSun Poisoning Rash\nSun poisoning rash, also known as sun allergy, can result from sun poisoning or too much exposure to the sun. Sun poisoning rash is a very itchy, widespread red rash. Small bumps, resembling the appearance of hives, can also develop.\nBlisters can also be a sign of sun poisoning. Typically, blisters are small, white bumps filled with fluid, with swollen red skin surrounding the area. These blisters can be extremely painful and itchy.\nRELATED:\u00a0The 5 W\u2019s of UV Exposure\nHow to Prevent Sun Poisoning\nSun poisoning and sun burn can be prevented by following these steps:\n\nWear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.\nReapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming\nAvoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.\nWear sunglasses with UV protection and protective clothing, such as hats.\n\nIncreased Risk of Sun Poisoning\nA pre-existing condition can be the cause of sun poisoning. Conditions such as lupus and eczema cause sun sensitivity, increasing the likelihood of sun poisoning occurring.\nPolymorphous Light Eruption (PMLE)\nA special type of sun poisoning is polymorphous light eruption (PMLE), which is a skin reaction to the sun for people who aren\u2019t used to intense sunlight. This mostly affects fair-skinned individuals who live in northern climates.\nMedications that Cause Sun Sensitivity\nSome of the most common medications known for causing sun sensitivity are:\n\nAntibiotics: doxycycline, tetracycline, and ofloxacin\nAcne medications: retinoids\nAntidepressants: doxepin and tricyclic\nAntifungal treatments: griseofulvin\nAntihistamines: promethazine and diphenydramine\n\nTreatment for Sun Poisoning: How You Can Care for Sun Poisoning\nIf you have mild sunburn or sun\u00a0poisoning, there are a few home remedies that will lessen the pain:\n\nHydrate and take ibuprofen to manage the pain.\nApply cold compresses made of equal parts milk and water, or infused with Burow\u2019s solution will help soothe the skin, and aloe vera gel can serve as an alternative.\nUse cool (not cold) water when bathing and avoid scented items like lotions, bath salts, oils, and perfumes because they may react negatively with the burnt skin.\nAvoid the sun until you\u2019re well, and take precautionary measures to avoid a similar situation!\n\nTreating sun poisoning rash is very similar:\n\nApply a cold compress using diluted water, apple cider vinegar, milk, or baking soda.\nBe sure to leave the cold compress on for 30-60 minutes and repeat as needed.\nApply a natural soothing agent such as aloe vera or coconut oil.\nUse anti-itch cream to protect your skin. If itching worsens, your doctor may need to prescribe an antibiotic.\nTake pain relievers if necessary or if the pain persists.\n\nIf you are experiencing sun poisoning, sunburn, or a sun rash, it is best to avoid the sun.\nIf you or a loved one experience severe sun poisoning symptoms, such as fever and chills; upset stomach; headache, confusion, or faintness; or dehydration, seek medical attention immediately.\nUPMC Urgent Care treats sunburns and sun poisoning symptoms. We are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week, and you never need an appointment to see a medical provider. Visit the UPMC Urgent Care website to get more information and find a location near you.