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Types and Symptoms of Sun Poisoning

Types and Symptoms of Sun Poisoning

3 July 2014 / Category: News
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Symptoms of Sun PoisoningDo you feel sick or appear extremely sunburned? If you spend too much time in the sun you are at risk for getting sun poisoning. Within 15 minutes of being outside during the day your skin can start to burn, over longer periods of time extensive damage can take place. Sun poisoning is literally an allergy to the sun, which causes your body to react in a number of different ways. In some cases, sun poisoning only requires shade, water, and rest. In other instances, sun poisoning can be incredibly dangerous and requires immediate urgent medical attention. Are you wondering, “Do I have sun poisoning?” Read on to learn about different types, signs and symptoms of sun poisoning. Plus, when you should visit a doctor for sun poisoning.

Symptoms of Sun Poisoning:

Sun Poisoning can cause visible symptoms on your skin, and internal symptoms that you feel inside of your body.

The most common signs of sun poisoning include:

  • Red or blistered skin
  • Tingly, painful, or swollen skin
  • Headache
  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Chills and/or nausea

Types of Sun Poisoning  

After spending too much time out under the hot sun, there are many different types of sicknesses that can impact the human body. In some cases, it’s not the actual sun but the heat itself that causes irritation. The amount of time your body can stand to be in the heat varies from person to person.

If you are exposed to too much sun or heat you may experience:

Heat Rash

A heat rash usually impacts parts of your skin not exposed to the sun. This red or pink rash is caused by blocked sweat glands, which can be due to clothing, oily lotions, or anything else that clogs your glands.

Heat Cramps

If you are working in the heat you are more likely to experience heat cramps. If your muscles cramp and you start to feel clammy and weak, you need to get out of the sun and drink plenty of fluids immediately.

Heat Exhaustion

If you don’t drink enough water while spending a long time in the heat, you may experience heat exhaustion. Symptoms differ depending if you have water depletion or salt depletion. Water depletion can cause you to have a headache, feel very thirsty or weak, and even dip out of consciousness. Signs of salt depletion include vomiting, nausea, muscle cramps and dizziness. Re-hydrating, and staying out of the sun can often resolve heat exhaustion. If you ignore signs of heat exhaustion it will only become more serious.

Heat Stroke/Sun Stroke

Heat Stroke is the most dangerous form of sun poisoning, this occurs when the body becomes so hot it can’t regulate your internal temperature. Symptoms of heat stroke include all of the symptoms listed above and can extend to include a high fever, rapid pulse rate, and feeling agitated or confused. Heat Stroke is serious enough to also cause coma, seizure, hallucination, and even death. If you are experiencing heat stroke you need to visit your nearest Emergency Room as soon as possible.

Treatment Options: When Should You Seek Medical Treatment For Sun Poisoning?

With minor cases of sun poisoning you may be fine to take care of your treatment at home. You will want to remain out of the sun, take a cool shower, and drink plenty of water. To help relieve symptoms you can use aloe gel, or a similar product, along with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

In some instances urgent medical treatment is necessary for mild sun poisoning. If a large portion of your skin is blistered, you may require professional wound treatment to reduce your risk for infection.

You need to visit your local Urgent Medical Center if sun poisoning causes any one of the following symptoms:  

  • Facial swelling
  • Fever or chills
  • Upset stomach

Visit your local Emergency Room if the following (more serious) symptoms arise:

  • Confusion, and/or hallucination
  • Consistent headache or light headed feeling
  • Extreme thirst/dehydration

(Learn More)

If you have sun poisoning for the first time, and perhaps unexpectedly, it might have to do with a certain medication you are currently taking. Many acne medications in particular are known to make your skin more sensitive to the sun. If a drug interaction is to blame you may want to visit a doctor just to ensure that you are okay.

Prevent Sun Poisoning With Florida Sun Safety!

In Florida we are blessed with a lot of beautiful sunshine, but it’s important to keep safe while enjoying the outdoors. You can actively work to protect your skin and avoid sun poisoning by staying out of the sun between 10 am and 2 pm each day. This is the time frame when the sun is at its strongest and can do the most damage. Sunscreen and clothing can also help keep you safe from the sun, along with drinking plenty of water and finding a shady spot to cool off whenever possible. Certain surfaces cause sunrays to bounce back up, creating double the dangerous exposure.  If you are on the sand, water, snow, or any other reflective surface you will want to be even more cautious in regards to protecting your skin.

All of us at Urgent Medical Center want you to have fun this summer, but we also want you to stay safe from the dangers of the sun. If you think you have mild sun poisoning, visit our convenient location for the treatment you need, both inside and out.

If you are experiencing more serious symptoms associated with a heat stroke, please visit the nearest Emergency Room.

About the author

Jonathan Kudrowitz Mr. Kudrowitz is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University’s Physician Assistant Program (MMS) and also completed a master’s degree in biomedical science (MS) at Florida Atlantic University. Jon is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is a member in good standing of the FAPA and AAPA. He joined UMC in 2009 and shares a commitment to delivering high-quality care with the utmost compassion, respect and attention to his patients.




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