Sunburns

The benefits of a correct exposure to the sun are very well-known: aesthetical look, psychologically speaking – helps preventing depressive moods, strengthens immune system and improves joint pains. On the other hand, a high level of exposure cand lead to immediate reactions or long term evolution skin affections, or aggravate pathologic existent conditions ( cardiovascular level, immunity).

Negative effects of sun exposure

Skin affections are caused by UV ( ultra violet) radiations , inflicted on very sensitive body areas mainly on the surface provoking 1st degree sunburns.

These can be successfully treated at home after consulting a specialist.

Second degree sunburns, are more profound with intense pain reaching out to nervous extensions. In this situation the skin is edematious, pustular, requiring a complex treatment and a longer period of time to heal. Other negative effects: heatstroke and problems caused by high temperatures, allergic reactions both to UV and certain solar protection products, ending up with partial vision problems or total loss.

Long term dangers:

– high risk of skin cancer

– aggravation of diseases like lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriazis

– cataract occurrence due to long term exposure

– structural changes in skin pigmentation – appearance of brown spots and premature wrinkles.

Symptoms are different from one individual to another. For example, persons with light skin, freckles, blonde or read hair, blue eyes, under 6 years or over 60 years are more likely to show sensibility to UV.

 

Risk factors

Sunburn intensity usually depends on:

– moment of exposure ( daytime): between 10 a.m – 16 a.m. UV register the maximum level

– one will be affected when in/on a surface reflecting UV: water, white sand, snow or ice

– the season: due to sun’s position, at summer heat and UV climb to the top

– altitude: at high altitudes UV filtering through atmosphere’s layers is decreased, causing serious sunburns

– latitude: the closer you are to the Ecuator, the more UV’s passing through the atmosphere

Recommended home treatment

In these circumstances specialists recommend the following:

– cold compresses applied on affected areas ( water, milk or chamomile infusion)

– frequent cold showers

– aloe vera or hydrocosrtisone 1% based soothing lotions help relieve edema

– skin pealing after sunburn has no treatment but there are lotions that diminish pruritus intensity accompanying this natural healing process

Specific pain and fever treatment can be realized with otc ( over the counter) drugs – no medical prescription needed. Examples: Piafen, Ibuprofen, Ketoprofen, Aspirin. When autoadministrating medication, the subject must comply with daily dosage and it is strongly recommended to read the prospect, this way avoiding drugs with previous antecedents. For persons under 20 years Aspirin must not be administered.

Patient advisal!

Carefully observe if symptoms improve or aggravate, medication treatment might be inefficient and you should visit your doctor.

Symptoms:

– vision problems even after sun exposure interrupted

– fever, nausea and regurgitation

– dehydration occurs as a result of insufficient liquids consumption

– allergic manifestations

Prevention

Keep sunburn at distance by:

– taking protection measures before and after sun exposure – make use of lotions and sprays with solar protection factor minimum 30 ( two or three layers needed, even frequently if spending considerable time in the water)

– avoiding dangerous hours ( 10 a.m – 16 a.m) – reduce time when subjecting to UV, look for shady areas if outdoor activities involved

– addapting wardrobe in accordance to environment temperature – light coloured clothes

Last, but not least, here are some helpful things you must take into consideration in order to provide eloquent information when visiting your specialist for diagnosis:

– how much, when and where were you exposed to UV

– what are your symptoms, when did you notice sunburn symptoms

– have you used any solar protection; if yes, what whas it

– what was the cause and treatment applied if you experienced sunburns previously

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