Sun Poisoning


Many people enjoy bathing in sunlight and love the warm embrace of the sun’s rays on them. However, sometimes this exposure can extend for too long and cause sun poisoning. This is different from sunburns but there are similar features of both the conditions. Sunburns generally last for a shorter period of time and are not harmful or painful. Sun poisoning on the other hand can get extreme and lead to various sever conditions that could also prove fatal. Generally, when we stay in the sun for over 15 minutes it causes some skin problems and allergies. Let us look at what sun poisoning is and how we can treat and prevent it.


When you are exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time, there are several types of sun poisoning that can affect you and each has their own symptoms such as:

Solar urticarial

When you have this condition, your skin may become red and itchy and you will also have small bumps all over the affected areas. These bumps look like hives and you may also have other symptoms like dizziness, wheezing and loss of consciousness.

Polymorphous light eruption

If you have this kind of sun poisoning, then you will have severe rashes in the affected areas with bumps and these will generally be more severe than those in Solar urticarial. The bumps will be formed and located in thick and dense clumps all over areas like the chest, lower legs and arms.

Inherited polymorphous light eruption

In this type of sun poising, you may face intense headaches and chills. You may also feel extremely exhausted and worn out.

Some symptoms will be seen across all conditions. These include blisters on your skin, redness, and swelling of your skin to the extent that there are bumps. These are generally not very harmful and don’t need to be medically treated, unless recommended. But there are many more severe symptoms of these conditions like diarrhea, fainting, headache, dehydration, swelling of the face and chills. These need to be treated especially if they last for more than a week. You should also visit the doctor if the bumps become painful and start bleeding. They will generally start spreading and cause cracks in your skin’s epidermis.


You may develop any of the above conditions and symptoms and each one needs to be treated in their own way. However when the conditions become severe, you need to get a medical checkup done. You must definitely visit the doctor in case of:

Painful blisters

If your blisters have spread and start form clumps and cause you extreme pain, you need to go to the doctor and get them treated, as this could be a severe case of sun poisoning.

Facial swelling

If your face feels puffy and starts swelling, means that the sun’s rays have penetrated through your body to an extreme level. In such cases, it is necessary that you visit the doctor.

Chill and fever

Generally, when you are exposed to the sun for prolonged periods of time, your entire body temperature will increase and you will get chills and fever.

Abnormal stomach

If you find that your stomach is feeling squeamish, you should get medical treatment as this could affect your entire digestive system.

Headache and confusion

Our body is generally accustomed to handle only a certain amount of exposure to the sun. When you go beyond that, you could be prone to severe headaches and confusion and thus need to be treated.

Dehydration symptoms

In severe cases of sun poisoning, you may become dehydrated and also black out.


Sun poisoning is like a much more severe form of sunburn where the conditions could end up being life threatening. Generally the main difference is that when you have sun poisoning the blisters and rash will spread all over the body and will look like poison ivy. This is called photodermatitis and must be treated as soon as possible.


Some cases of sun poisoning may not require medical attention and can be treated at home as well but when these symptoms don’t disappear after an extended period of time, you know you are in trouble.  Try and apply some anti-inflammatory cream on the affected portion. A doctor may also tell you to take azathioprine, which is a drug that boosts the body’s immune system and helps it deal with sun exposure in a better way.

Here are some home remedies that you can use in case of mild symptoms of sun poisoning:

Mustard oil

Mustard oil when mixed with water can effectively help treat symptoms of sun poisoning. Mix some mustard oil with water and then apply to the affected portions for about ten to fifteen minutes.


Chamomile is not only soothing when consumed as a tea but can also help deal with sun poisoning. Boil some chamomile flowers in water and then apply this on the affected portions daily.

Green tea

Green tea if applied twice in a day can severely reduce rashes and blisters caused by sun poisoning. Keep applying it daily to see its effectiveness.

Lavender oil

Taking a bath with warm water that has lavender in it soothes your skin and relieves any symptoms of sun poisoning. It is recommended that you bathe twice a day to help cure the symptoms in a faster manner.

Calamine lotion

downloadApplying a bit of calamine lotion daily on areas affected by sun poisoning will also help cure rashes and blisters. This lotion can also be mixed with warm water and used to wash the affected areas.


Dab the buttermilk cream directly with some cotton wool to help soothe your skin. You can also add some turmeric to buttermilk to help treat sun poisoning.

Grated vegetables

Onions and cucumbers that have been grated are highly effective in treating any symptoms of sun poisoning and should be applied or consumed on a daily basis.

Herbal paste

You can mix turmeric powder, honey, basil leaves, and margosa to create a paste and apply it to the portions that have been affected by the sun poisoning. This paste helps relieve the burning sensation and itchiness you feel when you have sun poisoning.

 Aloe vera

Use aloe vera gel or any extract from the plant and apply it to the affected areas for instant relief and a cooling effect. You can use a cold compress to help deal with any swelling of the face.

Egg white paste

Mix some hazel, honey, and egg white, make it into a paste, and apply it on the affected areas. Leave it on for about ten minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water.


If you start feeling like your skin is burning or want to prevent sun poisoning altogether, you should take the following steps:

Don’t go out in the sun for extended periods

Most of us generally have to go out atleast once in a day to our offices, schools or colleges or just on a general basis. Therefore you cannot avoid the sun altogether but you can try staying in during 10AM-4PM. This is because the sun’s rays are most powerful during this interval.

Adapt gradually to the sun

This does not mean that you sit out in the sun for long but go out every day for a little while so that your body can get accustomed to the sun’s rays.

Protect your skin

If you are going to be out in the sun for extended periods of time, it is best to wear some protective gear and cover up most of your skin. You should also protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses.

Sun block creams

This is the best thing to use if you feel your skin is about to get poisoned by the sun. Choose an SPF that protects you from the excessive rays of the sun but doesn’t harm your skin at the same time.


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