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Acute Sun Damage - Symptoms & Treatment


Acute Sun Damage is most commonly known as sunburn, which causes redness and peeling. Damage to the skin from sunburn can last a lifetime. It is now recognized that sunburn and sun exposure should not be taken as something insignificant. Deaths have resulted from acute sun exposure and significant temporary disability is experienced by millions of sunburned people each year. Sun damage of the skin, also known as photo damage can be either acute, as in a sunburn or more commonly, chronic, seen as gradual changes in the skin caused by an accumulation of sun exposure throughout one's life. Symptoms may begin as soon as 1 hour after exposure and typically reach their peak after 1 day. Some severely sunburned people develop a fever, chills, and weakness and on rare occasions even may go into shock. Sunburn is a serious risk factor for skin cancer and for sun damage such as wrinkles.

Acute Sun Damage is characterised by scaling of the exposed skin particularly in the more "sensitive" areas such as the chest and breast area, the nose, the ears and the shoulders. The damaging effects of ultraviolet on skin consist principally of direct cellular damage and alterations in immunologic function. Direct effects include photoaging, DNA damage and carcinogenesis. Ultraviolet rays can also damage the eyes, causing conjunctivitis and over time, even cataracts. UV exposure increases the risk of skin cancer among people of all skin types, but especially those with fair skin. Several days after a sunburn, people with naturally fair skin may have peeling in the burned area, usually accompanied by itching. These peeled areas are even more sensitive to sunburn for several weeks. Skin peeling usually begins between three and eight days after exposure. Excessive exposure to the sun also leads to a reduction in the function of white blood cells, causing less resistance to infection. Chemical peels, alphahydroxy acids, and laser skin resurfacing may improve the appearance of thin wrinkles and irregular pigmentation.

Causes of Acute Sun Damage

The common causes and risk factor's of Acute Sun Damage include the following:

  • Overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.
  • Certain medications that may increase your sensitivity to the sun, such as antibiotics or oral contraceptives.
  • The risk for acute Sun Damage is increased for persons with fair-skin, blue eyes and red or blond hair.
  • Geographical location: highest incidence in southern United States.
  • Persons exposed to excessive outdoor sunlight, industrial UV light sources are also in a high risk group.

Symptoms of Acute Sun Damage

Some symptoms related to Acute Sun Damage are as follows:

  • Redness.
  • Weakness.
  • Swelling.
  • Chills.
  • Nausea and vomiting in severe cases.
  • Lethargy.
  • Sensitivity to noise.
  • Blistering.
  • Fever.
  • Scarring of sun-exposed areas after even minimal exposure to the sun.

Treatment of Acute Sun Damage

Here is list of the methods for treating Acute Sun Damage:

  • The use of products containing alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid may have a smoothing effect on the skin.
  • Use mild soaps in the shower.
  • Try an anti-itch product, such as plain Calamine lotion or Sarna lotion, for comfort.
  • Take aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation.
  • Cold tap water compresses can soothe raw, hot areas, as can skin moisturizers without anesthetics or perfumes that might irritate or sensitize the skin.
  • If blisters are present, dry bandages may help prevent infection.
  • Use Over-the-counter analgesics to relieve the pain and headache and reduce the fever.

 

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