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What Does it Really Mean to Get Sun Poisoning?

By August 22, 2017May 11th, 2023Dermatology, Skin Care, Summer Skincare

Sun poisoning is the medical term for a particularly severe type of sunburn. While a sunburn might only impact the skin, sun poisoning can manifest through symptoms affecting other parts of the body. Like a sunburn, the cause is overexposure to sunlight that can be prevented by taking a few simple precautions. These same precautions will also reduce the long-term risk of skin cancer.

Causes and Symptoms of Sun Poisoning

Sun poisoning is caused by prolonged exposure to UV radiation that inflames the skin. It can begin as a sunburn and elevate to sun poisoning if the individual stays exposed. Symptoms include pain and swelling of the affected area that can resemble eczema. Individuals may also become itchy with painful lesions or blisters breaking out in the worst cases. Sun poisoning often goes hand in hand with symptoms of dehydration or even heat stroke. People may experience headaches, nausea, and fever or chills. If someone is experiencing these symptoms they should immediately get out of the sun and hydrate as much as possible.

How to Prevent Sun Poisoning

Sun poisoning can be prevented in the same way one would avoid a sunburn. The easiest way to avoid sun poisoning is to avoid being out in the sun, especially between 10 AM and 2 PM when the sun’s rays penetrate the atmosphere the strongest. For those who wish to enjoy the outdoors, a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 should be applied. Hats, long sleeves, and other coverings can also help. For people with sensitive skin, specialized sun protection products can help protect and nourish skin.

While sun poisoning is not life-threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. The board certified dermatologists at The Dermatology Clinic are here to help patients deal with the worst symptoms and avoid future sun poisoning with education and prevention.