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Too Much Sun? What You Should Know about Sun Poisoning.

Thomas Odland, MD, ACMC-Marshall, Urgent Care

If you're anything like me you are taking advantage of these warm summer days after cooler than normal temperatures this year. As we spend more time outside and the sun gets hotter, beware of sun poisoning. What's sun poisoning? Sun poisoning doesn't mean you've actually been poisoned. It's most often used when referring to a severe sunburn. Severe sunburns are typically characterized by these symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Skin redness and blistering
  • Dehydration
  • Pain and tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Fever and chills

Sun poisoning can generally be treated at home. Next time you forget the sunscreen and get a little too much sun, here's what you should do.

  • Get yourself out of the sun and into the shade
  • Cool down with a cool shower or bath or by applying a cool compress
  • Consume more water than you typically would for the next few days
  • Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain. Be sure to follow dosage instructions.
  • Use aloe gel or a cooling moisturizer
  • Cover up those sunburned areas whenever you head outside.

However, sometimes a severe sunburn needs medical attention. Head to your local urgent care if you experience any of the following symptoms.

  • A sunburn that forms blisters, covers a large area or is very painful
  • Facial swelling
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache, confusion or faintness
  • Fever and chills
  • Signs of dehydration

Most of us would rather not be covered from head to toe as we head outside to enjoy a beautiful Minnesota summer. Luckily you won't have to. Just don't forget to lather on the sunscreen (think broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater) and to give yourself a break from the sun.

So what are you waiting for? Kick back and enjoy the day.