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Skin Care and Diseases

Sun poison?

09/22/2005

Question:

what is the best thing you can do home to help really bad sunburn, maybe even sun poison?

Answer:

Time will relieve all of the symptoms. If you have no other health issues over the counter anti-inflammatories such as Advil or Tylenol will help relieve some of the symptoms. Cool compresses or baths will take away some of the heat. Try not to pop the blisters to prevent possible infection. If the symptoms do not begin to resolve within 48 hours see your doctor. In the future, sunblock, protective clothing and a hat will help prevent you from going through this again. A really bad sunburn is not sun poisoning, just too much sun exposure. True sun poisoning is is called 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 with wheals (red patches) or vesicles (bumps). The actual mechanism that causes this reaction is unknown, however, antihistamines, such as Benadryl, are effective in treating the reactions of some patients and will relieve some of the itching. Again, check with your doctor before taking any medication.

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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