Summer is not all about sun-kissed selfies, cool drinks, and cold-water swims. Well, it is also about the discomforts that come along with the blazing sun. No matter how much you love summers, one cannot deny the harms it can cause if remained exposed to the sun for long.
Recently 20-year-old Holly Barrington from the UK suffered from sun poisoning after spending a lot of time under the sun, while she was on a holiday in Tenerife, Spain. Barrington claims to have used suncream, UV protection sunglass before stepping out, Independent reported.
Despite the protection, her face got swelled up to an extent where she couldn't even open her eyes. Doctors told her that the swelling could be due to sun poisoning.
Barrington said: "I wore sun cream and didn't burn but when I got back to the room and had a shower, I could feel my face starting to swell and felt really hot."
As the temperature slowly rises, let's dig into the dangers of sun exposure.
What is sun poisoning?
Though the word 'poisoning' is used for the condition, it has got nothing to do with poison. It's just a case of severe sunburn. Being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun for a long period of time can result in sun poisoning. One requires medical treatment in the case of sun poisoning, unlike mild sunburns.
Symptoms of sun poisoning
It will start with regular symptoms of sunburn and can appear within 6 to 12 hours of exposure to UV rays. In case of a mild sunburn, one might experience redness, pain, and swelling. Medical treatment is not absolutely necessary in this case; it heals on its own. One can use aloe vera gel or cold water bath can soothe the skin.
However, sun poisoning is worse than a mild sunburn. It can result in severe redness, blisters, pain, fever, headache, nausea, dehydration and dizziness, according to Healthline.
Not using proper protection before going out on the sun can lead to sun poisoning but the risk is more for people taking antibiotics, oral contraceptives, using certain herbal supplements, people with fair complexion and family history of skin cancer.
Diagnosis and treatment
If anyone suffers from the above-mentioned symptoms, he/she should immediately visit the doctor to prevent other related complications that might appear such as skin damage and dehydration.
Depending on the severity, the doctor would suggest lotion, creams, and antibiotics. Drinking a lot of fluids can help replenish moisture that's lost from the extremely dry skin.
According to Healthline, sun poisoning may be treated with, steroid creams for painful blisters, intravenous (IV) fluids for dehydration, topical antibiotics to prevent infection and oral steroids for swelling and pain.
However, it's advisable not to go for over-the-counter medications. In case of sun poisoning, one should always visit the doctor because if left untreated, it can lead to potentially life-threatening complications.
How to prevent sun poisoning?
It's not advisable to stay too long in the sun, and if your work forces you to, always use protection. From sunscreens to UV protected sunglasses, never forget to apply or carry it before stepping out.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center recommends using a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. One should re-apply sunscreen if they sweat a lot or after swimming.