Sun poisoning is a form of allergic reaction to exposure to the sun. However, the condition does not occur every time a person is in the sun. According to scientists, the allergy occurs when there has been prior contact with an allergen, which is then activated by the sun, to cause the eczematous reaction which is sun poisoning. The condition is also called photoallergy, or photodermatitis. People with light skin, which has low melanin content, are more susceptible to sun poisoning. The skin will run red in the affected area and may also form blisters and rashes.
What does Sun poisoning look like?
People who suffer from sun poisoning will get a rash on the skin, but the type of rash differs from person to person, and also from one attack to another. Similarly the severity will be determined by the type of allergen that you came into contact with. The skin may peel, form blisters and get an angry red color. There may also be blister which will have a lot of fluid. In another type of sun poisoning called solar urticaria, the skin may also itch a lot, become red in color, and then develop into an appearance that is seen in hives sufferers. The skin develops a scaly appearance in patches.
What are the symptoms?
The allergens in your body are affected by UV radiation, causing your skin to have an allergic reaction which is what causes the condition to occur. There are three types of sun poisoning and the symptoms are usually distinct. Solar urticaria – This is characterized by itchiness, and the reddening of the skin. The patient may also get bumps similar to those of hives. The patient develops wheezing, and may become dizzy, and sometimes lose consciousness. Polymorphous light eruption – The patient develops an itchy rash and the exposed areas will develop bumps. The bumps will be in dense clumps, and your chest, arms and lower legs may develop a hive-like appearance. Polymorphous light eruption (inherited) – The patient develops fatigue, nausea, headaches, and chills. Slight symptoms – In all cases there are symptoms of a slight attack, and these include the reddening of the skin, blisters on the skin, the skin may swell to form bumps, and it will have a tingling sensation. Severe symptoms – There are symptoms of a severe attack, and these need immediate medical attention. These include fainting, diarrhea, dehydration, headaches, chills, swelling in the face. The blisters may also be very painful, and appear over most of your body. Your skin will begin to crust, scale, and crack. The cracked areas may bleed. There is an onset of fever, after the chills disappear, and the patient may be confused.
What are the causes?
Apart from over exposure to the sun, there are other causes that lead to the development of the condition. People with low melanin levels People who have fair skin have low levels of melanin. This is the pigment that helps in filtering the UV radiation from the sun. Blondes, people with light colored eyes, and redheads are the most common sufferers of this condition. The condition is rare among Afro, or dark skinned people.
Medication and Treatment Options
Certain medicines will make you develop this condition since they make the skin more vulnerable to UV rays. Industrial cleaners and some soap may also have the same effect. If you use tranquilizers, birth control pills, and blood pressure medication you may develop this condition. Sunscreens that contain PABA, and some antifungal creams can cause the condition to occur. You should also check the information on antibiotics since they can make you develop the condition. If you are not used to being out in the sun for long periods, you should be careful, since a sudden increase in the UV radiation caused by sudden exposure to the sun, can cause the condition to flare up. This may happen if you live in temperate climates then take a vacation to the equatorial beaches where temperatures are extremely hot, and longer hours of sunshine. This is what is called polymorphous light eruption.
What is the treatment?
The treatment will depend on the type of sun poisoning that you are suffering from. When you see the first signs, you should try to use wet and cool dressings to reduce the irritation. Cooling down your body may counter the effects of the allergen, so you should also take a lot of cool water. Taking ice-cold water is not advised since it may have a negative action. You can also take a cool shower to achieve this end. Antihistamines are recommended for an attack of solar urticaria. Corticosteroids may also be used to bring down the reaction. If the patient loses consciousness, then urgent medical help should be sought.
Sun Poisoning Rash Pictures