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How should you treat sun poisoning?

Sunburn or sun poisoning, both referred to as photodermatitis, is your skin’s allergic reaction to overexposure to the sun. Nearly everyone has endured mild sunburn at one time or another, but sun poisoning can be more serious and is always more painful. While sunburn can cause itching, redness, rash, peeling, and even small blisters, sun poisoning also can cause nausea, fever, headache, vertigo, fluid loss, and an electrolyte imbalance. The severity of your symptoms will help guide your treatment for sun poisoning.
 
Of course, it is best to avoid overexposure to the sun from the get-go by wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunscreen with UV protection of 30 or more. However, if it’s too late or if you suffer from sun poisoning in spite of your efforts to protect yourself, be sure to get out of the sun immediately and stay hydrated.
 
If your skin’s reaction to the sun is fairly mild:
  • Apply ice or cold compresses to burned areas. 
  • Gently pour aloe onto skin for cooling moisture.
  • Take aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen promptly to ease pain and swelling.
  • Avoid using perfume, cologne, or scented body wash, as this will further irritate your skin.
  • To soothe itchy skin, gently apply an over-the-counter cortisone cream or ointment. The steroid in the cream also helps reduce inflammation.
If your sun-poisoning symptoms are severe:
  • Step up your efforts to cool down and stay hydrated. Drink 32 ounces of cold water immediately, and take a bath in cool (not cold) water. Do not use bath salts, oils, perfumes, or bubble bath, as these may irritate sensitive, burned skin. Avoid scrubbing the skin, just soak.
  • Avoid shaving any burnt area of skin. 
  • Slather your skin with aloe, cortisone, and unscented moisturizing cream.
  • If you feel faint, sit with your head between your knees for 5–10 minutes and breathe deeply.
  • Check your temperature. If you have a fever, take acetaminophen or ibuprofen right away.
The best treatment for sun poisoning is prevention, but if you do suffer from the effects of sun poisoning, you can usually treat it at home with ease.

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