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Watch Out For: Sun Poisoning

So you've been out in the sun and you wore sunscreen, but unfortunately you forgot to reapply. You ended up with a nasty burn on your face and as you take a closer look, parts of your cheek appear kind of blistery and yellowish in color. What you've got is a case of sun poisoning (also called Photodermatitis, for those who want to impress their friends). Not only does it cause this painful rash, but symptoms also include fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, chills, and headaches. The area may swell and will probably feel like it's on fire.

Sun poisoning is your skin's reaction to UV rays. It's possible to become more sensitive than normal if you use certain meds such as antibiotics, beauty products that are used for acne, or sunscreens that contain PABA. Just like an irritating sunburn, the rash usually results in itchy, peeling skin, but eventually goes away on its own within 10 days. That's good to hear, but there's bad news too. To hear it

The more extreme exposure your skin gets to UV rays, the bigger your risk for skin cancer. So you want to prevent sunburns and sun poisoning at all costs. Make sure to avoid long hours of sunlight, especially during 10 am and 3 pm. Of course, slather yourself with broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher. It must be applied 30 minutes before you head out in the sun, and must be reapplied every two hours.


Join The Conversation
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I went to school with a girl that went on a cruise near the equator and she laid out to tan with baby oil (!) on the deck. About 20 minutes later, she fell asleep and woke up in an hour or so with a sunburn so bad that it literally blistered right away. She also had the classic sun poisoning symptoms (we were all surprised to find out she hadn't gotten heatstroke) and she actually had to be hospitalized for a while until it healed enough for her to be able to tolerate clothing. She learned a hard lesson, I guess.
emalove emalove 9 years
I've never had sun poisoning, but my husband has a couple of times. He's learned to use AND reapply sunscreen regularly now!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
HELLO! Suffering from it right now. I went to a picnic on Saturday here in SF - I wore UVA/UVB Sunblock not sunscreen SPF 60+. I wore a hat and re-applied sunscreen over ad over again during the three hour picnic and STILL, STILL my photodermatitis (photoallergicdermatitis technically) has flared up so badly. My skin was itchy welts and hives, I feel skin to my stomach and miserable. I have an ointment that my doctor prescribed last year to stop the itching and pain and to reduce the horrible appearance from the sun-bumps but it's not working. I'm seriously considering calling my doctor for an emergency appointment or stronger ointment. It's no fun being allergic to the sun. Especially when your "black" and people think people with dark skin don't have this disorder let alone sunburn.
jdeprima jdeprima 9 years
I got this bad one time in college--I was outside all day, but since it was chilly and I was in long sleeves and jeans, I stupidly didn't think about sun protection. My face was red that evening; next morning an enormous blister spread across my *entire* forehead, which was disgustingly swollen even under the blister. By the end of the day, the forehead edema had migrated down my face and created a "mask" that obliterated my nose and make my eyes look like they were staring out of my temples. It took 2 days for the swelling to go down enough for me to venture outside. Needless to say, I've been verrry careful about sun exposure ever since.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
This happened to me when I was in Tampa a year ago when I took my boy to Busch Gardens. By the time I got to the hotel, I was nauseaus, dizzy, and had a headache for 2 days. The same thing happened at one of his baseball games. By the time the game was over I thought I was going to pass out and my head was throbbing for hours.
Francoisehardly Francoisehardly 9 years
I think I was scared of letting myself ever get a sunburn after seeing classmates who couldn't even be touched after and were completely red. I only got a burn on my last field day ever in 5th grade and only on the top of my nose in between my eyes. I can't remember why I got a sunburn that field day but not for any other.
albeli albeli 9 years
albeli albeli 9 years
Sun poisoning is so not fun. It can also cause horrible aches and pains. I felt like I'd been hot by a truck.
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