While sun poisoning is more prevalent during the summer months, people with a lighter skin tone and sensitive skin can get it when staying outdoors for long. Some people are more susceptible to sun poisoning because their skin does not have enough melanin, the pigment required to absorb UV rays and form a protective layer. The symptoms of sun poisoning is usually similar to sunburn, so people do not usually pay a lot of attention to it, yet, things become more serious with time passing by. That is when many people ask, how long does sun poisoning last?
Whether You Have Sun Poisoning or Not?
Before worrying about how long sun poisoning lasts, you need to confirm whether your get actual sun poisoning. You may burn your skin if it stays exposed to direct sunlight for about 15 minutes. Anything longer than this may cause sun poisoning.
In addition to rashes, one typical symptom of sunburn, you experience more symptoms, including large blisters, swelling, fever, headache, nausea, fainting, dizziness, dehydration, and rapid pulse and breathing. Remember to seek immediately medical attention if you experience these symptoms. If left untreated, sun poisoning may lead to skin cancer.
How Long Does Sun Poisoning Last?
Once you know you have sun poisoning, you may want to know how long sun poisoning last, which depends on a number of things actually. Sun poisoning can be mild and severe. Yet, chronic sunburn can lead to severe damage to the skin and even affects the underlying organs.
1. Overall Symptoms
You will experience some immediate negative effects of sun poisoning for up to a week, but long-term effects may continue for more than a week. For severe cases, sun poisoning may take 10 days or longer to resolve, and mild cases of sun poisoning may take up to 3 days to get rid of the symptoms along with skin peeling. Usually, you will start experiencing symptoms of sun poisoning within half an hour after exposure to the sunlight. And the pain feeling can start within 6 hours after first, which can prolong for about 2 days.
In addition to the severity, what treatment you receive can be essential to the question, how long does sun poisoning last?
2. As for Rashes
It is common to see a rash developing after sun poisoning. Rashes due to sun poisoning can prolong for about 3 days. It usually appears like tiny pimples in the beginning and then turns into a rash associated with redness and swelling.
Calamine lotion and anti-inflammatory medicines may help reduce pain and swelling. Your rash may go away within a couple of hours after using specific treatment. The better idea is to apply sunscreen with SPF above 30 to protect your skin from getting a rash in the first place.
For some sun poisoning rash pictures and more details, click HERE to find more.
3. As for Swelling
Swelling, as one of the typical symptoms of sun poisoning, may persist for up to 24 hours. Proper treatment will help clear it in a few hours. Corticosteroids and ibuprofen may help alleviate pain and swelling. Never apply any greasy oils like petroleum jelly on the affected area because it blocks pores and aggravate the whole situation. Avoid wearing tight clothing because it will aggravate swelling.
4. As for Pain
You experience pain usually within the first couple of hours of getting the sunburn. The pain is usually the outcome of damage done to the tissues. For mild cases of sun poisoning, your pain usually goes away within 1 day. Severe sunburn will cause more pain that lasts up to 2 days. Using cold compresses and taking painkillers help reduce pain.
How Can You Help With Sun Poisoning Healing?
Followed with the question, how long does sun poisoning last, people naturally go to the question, how to help with sun poisoning healing. Depending on the severity, the following treatment options may help.
- You can always take anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and pain. Ibuprofen and aspirin are nice choices, but avoid giving aspirin to your children.
- You can manage the itching with a hydrocortisone lotion or cream. Make sure that these creams contain at least 1% hydrocortisone.
- Use aloe Vera to keep your skin from becoming dry, and drink as much water as you can to keep your skin and body hydrated.
- Take cool baths and applying cold compresses to the affected area may also help soothe your inflamed skin.
- Do not try to pop your blisters or an infection may develop. Just cover them with gauze and consult your doctor to find the best treatment option.
- Avoid using products that contain an anesthetic like benzocaine. Do not go out while you are recovering. And remember to wear sunscreen whenever you go outside to avoid dealing with any hassle.
Prevention Is Always Better Than Treatment
If you know your skin is sensitive to UV rays, it is important that you take steps to protect it from damage. Here is what you can do about it:
- Always use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Opt for products labeled to be broad-spectrum. Apply it on your exposed body parts at least 15 minutes before you go out in the sun. Always wear protective clothing before you go out.
- Do not go out between 10 in the morning and 2 in the noon. Also, keep in mind that snow, water, and sand can intensify the harmful effects of sunlight.
- Moreover, you should talk to your doctor and ask them if anything you take is making your skin more susceptible to sun poisoning. Some of the most common culprits are acne medication, antidepressants, antibiotics, heart drugs, diuretics, and birth control pills.