Sunburn (Sun Poisoning)
John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
- Sunburn facts
- What is sunburn?
- Can sunburn cause permanent damage?
- What is UV light and where are UV rays most intense?
- What are the symptoms of sunburn?
- What are the symptoms of severe sunburn (sun poisoning)?
- Sunburn pictures
- What first-aid measures should be taken with sunburn?
- What is the treatment for sunburn?
- Are there any home remedies to treat sunburn?
- Is a follow-up visit with a physician necessary?
- Why does the skin tan after exposure to UV rays?
- Who is most susceptible to sunburn?
- Can diseases cause a heightened sensitivity to UV rays?
- Can medications increase sensitivity to sunburn?
- What kinds of skin cancer can UV rays cause?
- How can sunburn and skin cancer be prevented?
- How do sunscreens work?
- What is SPF?
- What is the best way to apply sunscreen?
- Do sunscreens expire?
- Can antioxidants protect against sunburn?
- Summer Skin Hazards FAQs
- Patient Comments: Sunburn - Experience
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
Sunburn and sun poisoning facts
- Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun.
- UV radiation damages the skin and also can damage the eyes.
- UV rays are most intense at noon and the hours immediately before and after (between 10AM and 4PM).
- Immediate symptoms of sunburn are hot, red, tender skin; pain when the skin is touched or rubbed; and dehydration; several days after exposure the skin may swell, blister, and peel.
- Most sunburns are mild and can be treated with home remedies such as applying damp cloths or compresses to reduce the pain, soaking in a tepid bath (with no soap), gently patting the skin dry, applying soothing creams or lotions, OTC pain relievers such as Tylenol or others, and moisturizing the skin.
- Sunburn may cause permanent skin damage and skin cancer (malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma).
- UVB as well as UVA rays may cause damage to skin.
- UV rays may bounce off water, sand, snow, and other surfaces.
- Some types of skin tan after exposure to UV rays because after repeated or prolonged exposure to UV rays the skin produces more melanin.
- Persons with certain pigment disorders and individuals with fair skin are at most risk of sunburn.
- Certain diseases and conditions pose a higher risk of sunburn (for example, albinism, lupus, porphyrias, vitiligo, and xeroderma pigmentosum).
- Some medications may increase sensitivity to sunburn (photosensitivity).
- The best way to prevent sunburn is to avoid long exposure to sunlight.
- Sunscreen and sun-protective clothing are important measures to limit sun damage.
- Apply sunscreen before going outdoors, apply it liberally, and re-apply frequently.
- Sun poisoning is caused by severe sunburn; its symptoms include fever, nausea, chills, dizziness, rapid pulse, rapid breathing, dehydration, and shock.
- Heat stroke is a severe form of hyperthermia that is life-threatening.
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