How To Know If You Have Sun Poisoning (And What To About It If You Do)

Photo: getty
How to know if you have sun poisoning (and what to do about it)
Health And Wellness

If you’ve ever fallen asleep in the sun and woken up in a load of pain, you know the agony of a severe sunburn. But severe sunburns can also mean sun poisoning.

Of course, sunburns can vary from mild to severe, but the severe symptoms are those that are a result of sun poisoning. What are the sun poisoning symptoms you should look for? In addition to severe burning, you can also experience nausea, fever and chills, swelling, and dehydration. If you experience any of these symptoms to you should seek medical attention.

According to Dr. Obianuju Helen Okoye, medical advisor at Medzino, “Sun poisoning really means a case of bad sunburn. People can easily get sunburn being out in the sun for 15 minutes without any protection." Ouch.

But are there sun poisoning treatment options? Here's what you should do if you end up with sun poisoning, and how to treat these burns.

RELATED: The 4 Types Of Sunscreens You MUST Use (Unless You Want Skin Cancer)

1. Get out of the sun.

First things first, get to somewhere shady immediately. Obviously, you don’t want to make your skin worse, so get out of that sun and find somewhere cool and shaded.

2. Take Ibuprofen.

An anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen is helpful for removing that “sting” by reducing inflammation. Not only will it provide pain relief, but it will also help you heal faster.

3. Cool yourself down.

You can do this by applying a cold compress or taking a cold bath. Either option will help soothe the burn and make you more comfortable.

4. Use Hawaiian Astaxanthin.

Hawaiian Astaxanthin is a naturally derived microalgae and is a powerful antioxidant. "In my medical practice, I teach it’s not only what you put onto the skin to protect it, but also what you put into it, and that’s where astaxanthin shines,” says Dr. William Sears.

"When skin ages, we notice wrinkling, thinning, and sagging because of the collection of sticky stuff that infiltrates collagen, the protein and structural fibers of the skin. This weakens the skin’s elasticity and causes it to sag. Since most skin damage is caused by oxidation, it stands to reason that natural astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, would be good for skin health."

But that's not all, because according to Dr. Sears, there's science to back up this method of treatment: “Sunburn happens from excess skin oxidation. UV light reddens the skin, and repeated overexposure to sun rays causes photo aging: wrinkled, blotchy, thinned, darkened skin. Since astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant, it’s a natural partner with skin health.”

5. Drink fluids.

Dehydration is the enemy, so make sure you are drinking tons of fluids. This means you should make sure to drink plenty of water for the next few days to replenish your hydration levels.

6. Apply aloe vera.

Using fresh aloe vera can accelerate the healing process. And though it's a common soothing method for sun burn, it can also work on sun poisoning. 

“Aloe Vera is touted for its healing properties as well as its anti-inflammatory qualities, so it can reduce swelling. Apply regularly or as needed to speed up the healing process and relieve pain,” advises Caleb Backe, a certified health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics

7. See a doctor if symptoms get worse.

If you're experiencing severe symptoms like dizziness, high fever, and dehydration, and seem confused and out of it, your best option may be to seek medical care and visit the doctor. After all, your health is of the utmost importance.

RELATED: 15 Best At-Home Sunburn Remedies That Work Better Than Aloe

If you find that you're in too much pain and need some immediate relief, here are a few products you can try to help ease the burn.

1. Seven Minerals Organic Aloe Vera Gel

This gel is made from real and freshly cut aloe leaves, not powder, making it one of the purest and strongest on the market. It's great to soothe a burn after exposure.

(Amazon)

2. Phytoplage Sublime After Sun Oil

The sun can be super damaging to the hair, but this oil can be smoothed into hair to restore shine and hydration. And it's great for the body as well.

(SkinStore, $26.25)

3. Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm

This moisturizing balm is another source of aloe and helps to calm skin after the sun, which also helps avoid peeling. You can use this on your face and also your body.

(Ulta, $27)

RELATED: 4 Serious Dangers Of Sunburn That Will Convince You To Get Your Sun Protection Ready For Summer

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at alywalansky@gmail.com.

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