Most of us experience itchiness, redness of skin, rashes, or blisters on the skin, with prolonged exposure to the sun. Some of us may also get fatigue, nausea; vomiting etc. these are the warning signs that indicates sun poisoning. Sun poisoning refers to an allergic reaction which develops with prolonged exposure to the sun. This is associated with changes in the capability of the skin to withstand the rays of the sun. However it may also be linked with certain medications or skin creams.
What Causes Sun Poisoning?
Sun poisoning is basically caused by prolonged exposure to the strong and harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. It occurs most commonly in hot summers when the ultraviolet rays are the strongest. Moreover, light-skinned people are more at risk of suffering from sun poisoning. This is due to less amount of protective melanin pigment. However, it can affect anyone who spends long hours in the sun. The risk of having sun poisoning increases drastically by the use of certain chemicals, drugs, and cosmetics. Drugs, such as sulfa-containing drugs, tranquilizers, anti-hypertensives, drugs used for diabetes mellitus, anti-fungal, and birth control pills, can trigger sun poisoning. Also direct contact with substances like detergents, deodorant bar soaps, shampoos certain cosmetics and toiletries, followed by the exposure to sun rays may lead to sun poisoning as well. In addition, certain chemical that are found in vegetables and fruits can also be responsible for the specific photosensitive reactions.
Sun poisoning is of two types. In the first type, the skin reacts to the sun rays by having red, bumpy skin associated with rashes. Whereas in the second type, heat stroke, sunstroke, and heat prostration occurs. This is because of dehydration and the loss of electrolytes that occurs in sun poisoning.
The severity of the symptoms produced by sun poisoning depends on the duration of the exposure to the ultraviolet rays, intensity of the sun rays, as well as the capacity of the body to withstand the sunrays. These symptoms may appear to be either mild or pretty severe.
Some of the common symptoms of sun poisoning that are produced include the following:
- Redness of the skin
- Tenderness of the skin
- Red skin rash
- Itching Blister formation
- Flu-like symptoms
- Loss of fluid
- Electrolyte imbalance
Excess exposure can also lead to deterioration and damage to the skin. In severe cases, sun poisoning may also lead to premature aging, wrinkle formation and skin cancer in some cases.
How to Relieve Pain
The pain of sunburn or sun poisoning is at its worst about 6 to 48 hours after exposure. You need to be particularly vigilant where your children are concerned, since they can play in the sun for hours, without being aware that they are getting sunburned. Ensure that your children wear, sunscreen, just like you should, a hat or cap, and protective clothing. Do not use sunscreen on very young children though, and do try to keep them out of the sun as much as possible.
What can you do to relieve sun burn and sun poisoning? Sun poisoning, if it seriously involves vomiting and fever, may require medical attention. You can use self-care measures for yourself and your children to treat sunburn .You need to use cool compresses by dipping towels or strips of gauze in cool water, and then lay them on the burnt areas,; this will help to reduce heat and pain.
You can also add half a cup of baking soda to a bathtub full of water and soak in it. You can also try over the counter pain relievers like aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, but do not give aspirin to anyone under 19; it is said to cause a rare problem called Reye’s syndrome. Give your children ibuprofen or acetaminophen instead. Drink plenty of water.
Be aware that sunburn can age your skin, before it’s time. Severe sunburn or sun poisoning can put you at risk for skin cancer. So, use the age-old adage “prevention is better than cure” and avoid damage to your skin, which could result in lifetime damage of a life-threatening situation.