You spend the day at the beach, frolicking in the waves and have everything to show for it (other than the sand) wherever) is a huge sunburn. Um oh. Should I worry?
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“There are many health problems that can be caused by sunburn,” says dermatologist Amy Kasuf, MD. “You don’t need to see a health care professional every time you get a sunburn. However, seeking medical care when needed can help prevent the development of these serious symptoms.
“A sunburn is similar to a burn. It’s the type caused by contact with a hot surface, liquid, steam, or flame,” she explains. “It’s not as deep as a burn, but the damage to the DNA is greater.”
Dr. Kassouf teaches you about the dangers of severe sunburn, how to know if you’re sunburned, and when to seek medical care.
Severe sunburn requires medical attention
Small spots of first-degree sunburn (the most mild type of sunburn) usually do not cause serious health problems. However, if the skin continues to react to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, worrying symptoms can occur. Please contact your provider if:
- This can cause first-degree burns all over your body, increasing your risk of developing heat stroke.
- Blisters develop over large areas of the skin, increasing the risk of infection.
- Symptoms of illness or dehydration, such as fever, chills, or fainting.
“Blistering on the skin means there is further damage to the deeper layers of the skin,” Dr. Kasuf says. “You’re more likely to become dehydrated, develop a fever, and develop inflammation. In that case, you should seek medical attention.”
Can you get sick from sunburn?
Two degrees of sunburn can cause health problems. These include:
Severely burned skin can no longer retain water in the body, leading to dehydration. Signs of severe dehydration include:
- Dry mouth or thirst.
- You are unable to urinate or your urine is dark in color.
- Disorientation or confusion.
- Dizziness, especially when standing up.
- Headache or confusion.
Sun poisoning is like an allergic reaction to sunburn. Basically, extreme exposure to UV rays causes skin irritation. The main difference between sun poisoning and a typical sunburn are the additional symptoms that can occur with sun poisoning, including:
- Burning sensation.
- Extreme thirst.
You don’t have to be in extreme heat to develop heat exhaustion, points out Dr. Kassouf. Severe sunburn can cause loss of body fluids, lowering blood pressure and blood volume. The first symptom is fatigue. In addition to feeling tired, you may also experience the following symptoms:
- Intense thirst.
- I feel faint.
- Sweat profusely.
Heatstroke occurs when your body is unable to regulate its temperature. This condition can cause permanent disability or even death if not treated immediately. It usually begins as heat exhaustion, but symptoms quickly worsen, including:
- Extreme sweating or hot, dry skin (if you are dehydrated).
- Loss of consciousness.
- Mental disorders such as confusion and slurred speech.
- Very high body temperature (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius).
“Several days after a burn, when the blister ruptures and exposes the lower layers of the skin, the risk of developing an infection is usually higher,” Dr. Kasuf explains. Telltale signs of infection include:
- Redness, pain, and swelling increase.
- Severe fever.
- Pus or crust covering the open area.
Why is it important to get sunburn treatment?
Don’t ignore the early signs of a dangerous sunburn. Contact your health care provider if you have signs of dehydration, sun poisoning, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke. The symptoms of these health conditions go far beyond the discomfort of a sunburn, can last much longer, and can even cause permanent damage.
“If you get a bad sunburn, your skin is no longer a strong barrier to protect your body,” Dr. Kasuf reiterates. “Symptoms of heat trauma can occur, including dehydration, low blood pressure, and shock. But it all starts with a sunburn.”