What is Sun Poisoning?

Sunburn is a common occurrence that you’re sure to experience at least once in your life. Sun poisoning is less common and not talked about as often, so many people lack basic knowledge on the condition. It’s good to know what sun poisoning is and how it’s treated if you or a loved one is ever suffering, so you can help identify it early!

AFC Urgent Care Waltham can help treat both sunburns and mild cases of sun poisoning. If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of dehydration or severe blisters, visit the nearest emergency room.

What is Sun Poisoning?

Sun poisoning is a type of very severe sunburn. A regular sunburn is uncomfortable, but it heals on its own with no problem and won’t impact your life beyond some mild discomfort. Your skin can begin burning after just 15 minutes in the sun without protection. Some people are more prone to sunburns than others, but everyone is at risk of sunburns and sun damage with enough exposure. 

Symptoms

The symptoms that distinguish a sunburn and sun poisoning include:

  • Swelling
  • Blisters and redness
  • Pain and itching
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Sun poisoning is sunburn so severe that you start to have physical symptoms apart from just the red, painful skin.

Treatment for Sun Poisoning

Sun poisoning should be treated with the help of a medical professional to ensure the skin isn’t getting infected and that you’re using the right products. Ultimately, it will take time for your body to heal the damaged skin. Your doctor will encourage treatments that help to pull heat from the skin while restoring moisture and preventing infection in the blistered skin.

Preventing Sun Poisoning

Prevention is always the best medicine! Prevent sunburn and sun poisoning by wearing a daily SPF of 30 or higher every single day. If you are in direct sunlight, you should reapply the sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours. You can also cover exposed areas of skin with long sleeves, hats, and sunglasses to limit the amount of skin that could be damaged. Try to avoid the sun between roughly 10 AM and 3 PM since this is the most harmful time for UV rays.

All men, women, and children need to wear a daily SPF. All skin tones require sunburn prevention, too, despite popular belief that darker skin can’t be burned the same way pale skin can. If you have blonde or red hair, blue eyes, or freckles, you’re said to be more prone to severe sunburns and should use a higher-grade SPF for added protection against the sun.