Sun poisoning is an allergy that attacks your skin whenever you are exposed to the dangerous rays of the sun. This causes our body to react in various ways. Spending more than 15 minutes under the sun beyond our skin’s limitations can lead to extensive damage. During this period of time, your skin begins to burn as if you are extremely sunburned. When the symptoms of sun poisoning start to develop, you can treat them by keeping your skin shaded, drinking lots of water and rest. However, sun poisoning can be a real threat to our health to the extent that it is urgent and you should seek immediate medical attention.
Symptoms of Sun Poisoning
There are different types of sun poisoning that have different symptoms. It’s important to know which type of sun poisoning you have. Below are the types of sun poisoning with their corresponding symptoms:
- Solar urticarial: This type of sun poisoning causes the patient to develop itchiness and redness in the skin. Also, the patient may get bumps similar to the hives. In addition to this, the patient is prone to wheezing, may become dizzy and sometimes, may lose consciousness.
- Polymorphous light eruption: In this type, the patient develops irritating rashes in affected areas, leading to development of hive-like bumps. Normally, these bumps appear in dense clumps which can be seen in the chest, arms and lower legs.
- Inherited polymorphous light eruption: This causes the patient to suffer from fatigue, develops headache and chills.
In all three types of sun poisoning, slight symptoms are common. These symptoms include:
- Redness of the skin
- Blisters in the skin
- Swelling of the skin that leads to developing bumps
Severe symptoms are far more dangerous and it could cost lives if not taken care of seriously. These symptoms may include the following:
- Swelling in the face
If the sun poisoning is severe, the blisters in the affected areas will be extremely painful, may spread throughout the other parts of the skin and bleed. Additionally, this may cause your skin to develop crusts and cracks.
When to See a Doctor
Symptoms of sun poisoning may vary depending on which type of sun poisoning hit you. Either way, you should see a doctor immediately especially if you happen to have these symptoms:
- Painful blisters that cover a large area: If you see large chunks of blisters that are painful, it means that the sun poisoning is severe and may spread to unaffected parts if not treated immediately.
- Facial swellings: If you are experiencing this, your skin is already burning and it’s one sign that the sun poisoning is starting to penetrate beyond the skin.
- Fever and chills: When you have swellings, there’s a chance that you develop fever and chills. This is because the sun poisoning heats up our body temperature.
- Abnormal stomach: This is one sign you cannot take lightly. If the sun poisoning affects the stomach, it may contemplate and further damage your digestion system.
- Headache, confusion or fatness: Severe headache due to sun poisoning is a dangerous sign. Remember that our brain can only maintain a certain level of UV rays that it’s receiving from the sun.
- Signs of dehydration: Severe dehydration may lead to losing of consciousness.
Difference Between Sun Poisoning and Sun Burn
The main difference you can notice between sun poisoning and sun burn is that the type of rash a patient develops. If the rash looks and feels like a poison ivy, that’s sun poisoning. In the medical industry, this condition is also called photodermatitis. Sun burn and sun poisoning are very much similar to each other. However, what makes sun poisoning different is the severe reactions of the body when hit.
How to Deal With Sun Poisoning
Mild cases of sun poisoning can be treated on your own. However, it’s recommended that you seek further medical attention especially if the sun poisoning symptoms don’t disappear more than a week after the symptoms first showed up.
You can also apply anti-inflammatory creams on affected areas. If the symptoms are already severe, doctors may prescribe medications such as azathioprine, a drug that has the ability to furthermore boost the responses of the immune system to the sun poisoning.
- Mustard oil: This oil is suitable as a remedy for symptoms of sun poisoning. Just mix the mustard oil with water and use it as a massaging mixture to the affected areas. It’s recommended to continuously massage the affected areas for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Chamomile: Boiling chamomile flowers in a cup of water is another effective remedy against sun poisoning. Just regularly apply the mixture to the affected parts and it will gradually give you improving results.
- Green tea: Frequently applying green tea mixture on the affected areas, commonly recommended twice a day, is another effective remedy. It helps treat blisters and rashes that are caused by sun poisoning. Consistency in applying this remedy will improve your chance of beating sun poisoning.
- Lavender oil: If the sun poisoning has already spread out in your skin, bathing in warm water with lavender oil helps patients feel better. This provides relief even from the most severe symptoms of sun poisoning. Use this twice a day to get the best results.
- Calamine lotion: Applying this lotion to affected areas will help you get rid of irritating rashes and blisters caused by sun poisoning. You can also use this while bathing with water that is mixed with this lotion.
- Buttermilk: Applying it by using a cotton ball coated with the cream itself helps provides relief to affected parts. Adding turmeric powder to a glass of buttermilk is another plus towards treating sun poisoning.
- Grated vegetables: Vegetables have natural healing capabilities. Grated ones such as onions and cucumbers are known effective remedies against sun poisoning. Frequent application of this remedy will give you better results.
- Herbal paste: Application of this paste to the affected parts will reduce irritating itchiness and burning sensation caused by sun poisoning. Mixing honey, turmeric powder, margosa and basil leaves can create an effective paste against sun poisoning.
- Aloe Vera extract: Aloe Vera or any liquid extracted from Aloe Vera leaves is one of the common treatments for sun poisoning. It helps soothing the skin. Apply the mixture to the affected parts for immediate relief. For the swellings, you can apply cold compress to make you feel better.
- Egg white paste: Mix egg white with a little bit of hazel and honey. Apply this mixture on the affected areas and leave it for around 5 to 10 minutes. Then, rinse it carefully with lukewarm water.
How to Prevent Sun Poisoning
There are many preventive measures you can take and these include applying the right amount of sun protection, wearing protective clothing and applying cold compress if you feel the skin is burning.
- Limit exposure to the sun: As much as possible, limit your exposure to the rays of the sun. According to the experts, the sun is at its brightest between 10AM and 4PM.So if there’s no need, don’t go outdoors between these times.
- Adaption to the sun’s rays: The skin can adapt to the sunlight. Gradually spending time outdoors will not only lessen the dangers of sun poisoning. It also allows your skin cells to adapt to the sunlight especially during summer and spring.
- Wear protective stuff: Avoid leaving bare skin exposed to the sun. Wear protective clothes and sun glasses.
- Use sun protection creams: Sun blocks are very effective preventive tools against sun poisoning. They help shield our skin from receiving excessive UV rays.