Everything you want to know about Sun Poisoning

Spending too much time out in the sun or being exposed to the harmful ultraviolet rays for long can invite a lot of health hazards, and sun poisoning (severe sunburn) is one of them. According to a recent report by a renowned Skin Cancer Foundation, one of three adults faces this problem at least once in a year.

Sun Poisoning

Despite wearing full clothes or covering yourself with hats, sunglasses, or sunscreens with the right SPF, you can get sunburned. Someone who frequently visits a beach works in the yard regularly go on fishing, or have extra sensitive skin may face sun poisoning.

The chances of getting sunburned are higher in summers than at any other time of the year. Even though seldom fatal, severe sunburn can cause discomfort, blisters, and even flu-like symptoms. If you want to know about this skin problem in detail, then go through the symptoms, rash, relief, prevention, and treatment section below:

Symptoms of Sun Poisoning

Sun Poisoning doesn’t require any medical diagnosis. You may first experience a regular sunburn, which becomes visible within six to twelve hours of exposure to the ultraviolet rays. And the peak effects of sun poisoning appear within 12 to 24 hours. Here is what you may experience in case of severe sunburn or sun poisoning:

  • Chills
  • Peeling skin or skin loss (mostly four to seven days after the skin exposure to UV rays)
  • Dehydration
  • Blisters
  • Extreme redness and pain
  • Fever
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Headaches and dizziness


People with ultra-sensitive skin tend to get rashes due to a specific condition known as polymorphous light eruption (PMLE). The symptoms of sun rash caused due to PMLE are mild than that of the severe skin burn. You can see small bumps on the entire body, redness in the form of patches, and hives (mainly on lower legs, arms, and chest). Apart from this, the rash can also cause itchiness and a bit of discomfort.

What induces sun poisoning?

As aforementioned, there are a lot of factors that may cause severe sunburn from exposure to UV-rays. You are most likely to get sunburned if:

  • you have a family history of skin cancer
  • you are taking certain medicines, especially antibiotics, oral contraceptive pills, or herbal supplements
  • you use citrus oils to your skin before going out in the sun
  • you live in a place close to the equator or at high altitudes
  • you visit the beach frequently
  • you are taking chemical peel treatment that uses alpha hydroxy acids

Sun Poisoning- Diagnoses

If you feel your skin damaged, experience severe dehydration, or find any other symptoms that have been mentioned above, then you might have sun poisoning. Your doctor will check your vitals to known the severity of your burns and start treatment accordingly.

Sun Poisoning- Treatment

Depending on the severity of the skin burn, your doctor may use cold water or compresses. You may also be advised to drink plenty of fluids to allow your body, replenish lost moisture. Apart from this, this skin problem can also be treated with:

  • IV fluids that cure dehydration
  • Oral steroids to make you get rid of swelling and pain
  • Prescription pain medications in case of ultra-pain
  • Antibiotics to deal with the skin infection
  • Steroid creams to treat blistering sunburns

Sun poisoning takes a considerable time to heal, and you may also be transferred to the hospital’s burn unit if the condition is severe.

Sun Poisoning- Prevention

You can prevent yourself from getting sunburned by following a few precautions:

  1. Cover exposed skin whenever you go out
  2. Avoid using tanning beds
  3. Don’t forget to apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher
  4. Don’t ignore sunburns even if it is mild. In this case, apply cool compresses using milk or cold compresses with burrow’s solution.
  5. If you feel early symptoms of sunburn, stay out of the sun
  6. Drink plenty of fluids before going out in the sun for long
  7. Keep your skin moisturize

If the redness or rashes get worse, then visit a good dermatologist without a second thought.

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