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Skin Care and Diseases

Sun poisoning

06/07/2005

Question:

I get sun poisioning everytime I get in the sun. Sometimes it is only 20 or 30 minutes. this time I wore a sun visor and used 30 sun screne. What can I do to keep from getting this again, I love to fish and be out doors.

Answer:

It sounds like you may have Solar Urticaria.

It is a rare reaction to sun exposure. This is a true sun allergy. It develops rapidly--moments after exposure, the skin begins to itch, and then becomes red. Wheals or vesicles appear.

The actual mechanism that causes this reaction is unknown, however, antihistamines are effective in treating the reactions of some patients. In this case sunscreen may not be enough. Covering the skin from exposure to sunlight may help. Wearing tightly woven dark colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants to protect your body and a wide brimmed hat to protect your face and neck may help. There are also clothes that are specifically designed to prevent the UV rays from penetrating them. They may help as well.

The only real solution unfortunately is to stay out of the sun.

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Response by:

Tatiana M Oberyszyn, PhD Tatiana M Oberyszyn, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology
Associate Professor of Molecular Virology, Immunology & Medical Genetics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University