The sun is an ever-present feature in our lives. It gives us light and warmth just as plants need the light to produce food.
We schedule most of our activities, indoors or outdoors, on whether the sun makes its appearance on the sky. Without it, life on earth would be unbearably bleak and life would be impossible. It is no wonder that even at a very young age, children are already taught of its importance.
Although the sun’s importance is undisputable, it is essential to note that overexposure to the warming rays of the yellow ball on the sky is not beneficial to our health.
I’m sure everyone is well aware of the dangers of too much exposure to direct sunlight. The situation has now become more serious due to the depletion of the ozone layer which protects us from ultraviolet rays.
Nowadays, getting sunburn after a fun day at the beach is no longer treated nonchalantly. A more serious condition though is sun poisoning. But how is it possible to get poisoned by the sun?
Sun Poisoning Symptoms
Sun poisoning, to put it simply, is an allergic reaction to sunlight or a very severe case of sunburn. It is more common in people with fair skin in northern climates and occurs more often in women than in men. The following are some of the symptoms:
1. Burning sensation on the skin
As sun poisoning is somewhat a serious case of sunburn, it stands to reason that some of its symptoms will be similar.
One such example is a burning sensation on the skin. Direct exposure to the sun for more than 15 minutes causes our skin to be sensitive and redden.
A cool bath can give the patients relief from this pain.
Overexposure to sunlight will cause fluid-filled bumps on the skin. These are very uncomfortable and painful.
Several home remedies can be done to treat blisters. A few examples are aloe vera, cold compress, oatmeal, and even baking soda.
It is also important to resist the temptation of popping the blisters because doing so will increase the risk of a skin infection. Also, if blisters cover a large area of your body, it might be best to seek medical attention.
Another symptom of sun poisoning is fever. As with other diseases, a clear indicator that all is not well with your body is fever.
This is often accompanied by chills, which stresses the severity of the condition.
Seek medical attention immediately if this happens. Simply retreating to the shadows will no longer suffice in this situation.
4. Nausea and vomiting
Experiencing stomach distress and the urge to vomit indicates that sun poisoning has exceeded the skin level and could damage the digestive system.
Also, frequent vomiting could lead to dehydration which as you can deduce, would make things significantly worse.
Even if you have never experienced sun poisoning, it is very easy to believe headache would be one of its symptoms.
Everyone has experienced being out in the sun for a minute or two and feel pain in your head as a result. Imagine what prolonged exposure would do to your head!
You can treat headache by pain medication and taking time to lie down in a cool room to ease some of the discomfort.
Another symptom that requires immediate treatment is dehydration. It is an abnormal depletion of our body fluids.
Mild to moderate dehydration is characterized by a dry, sticky mouth, sleepiness or tiredness, thirst and decreased urination. This can be treated by drinking water and/or sports drinks.
Avoid drinking cold drinks though as this may promote chills.
For severe dehydration though, go to a hospital immediately. This could quickly become a life-threatening situation if not given the proper care.
7. Swelling in the face
This is an indication that sun poisoning is penetrating your skin. It is usually accompanied with fever and chills.
See a doctor immediately if you are experiencing this symptom.
8. Loss of consciousness
Fainting can be another indicator of sun poisoning with possible shock requiring a need to visit the hospital.
9. Skin redness
This is a fairly common symptom and is also observed in sunburn patients.
However, when you have sun poisoning, a much larger area of your skin is affected. A cool bath can be very soothing and can alleviate some of the redness.
Lastly, itchiness is also a symptom of sun poisoning. The blistered areas in your body will be very itchy for the next few days.
Refrain from scratching to avoid popping the blisters, which, as mentioned in number 2, can be infected by bacteria. Doctors will usually an anti-itch cream or lotion to provide some relief.
To avoid getting sun poisoning, we should limit being directly exposed to the sun for not more than 15 minutes at a time. The sun shines brightest at 10 am to 4 pm so unless necessary, avoid going out during these times.
Another tip is to wear the proper protective clothing such as sunglasses or a fashionable hat.
If you are out swimming at the beach or the pool, remember that sunblock washes off so be sure to reapply it every two hours and wait at least 15 minutes after application to give your skin time to absorb the sunblock. Also make sure to choose sunblock that have SPF of 30 or higher.
Sun poisoning is not a trifling matter. Aside from being extremely uncomfortable and unattractive, it is also quite dangerous.
It could also cause eye damage and increase one’s chances of developing cataract.
Repeated sunburn could also cause skin cancer. Given the many risks, it hardly seems worth it to risk getting all these nasty diseases just to acquire a summer tan.
Yet come summer, a lot of us hit the beach and neglect taking the necessary precautions to protect ourselves from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
All it really takes is less than five minutes to apply a coat of sunscreen and a lot of pain is avoided. Remember that prevention is better than cure.
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