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Sunburn and Sun Poisoning

Sunburn Overview

Sunburn results from too much sun or sun-equivalent exposure. Almost everyone has been sunburned or will become sunburned at some time. Anyone who visits a beach, goes fishing, works in the yard, or simply is out in the sun can get sunburned. Sunburn is possible any time of year, but is more common in the summer months when the sun's rays are the strongest. Improper tanning bed use is also a source of sunburn. Although seldom fatal, severe sunburn or sun poisoning can be disabling and cause quite a bit of discomfort.

A Skin Cancer Foundation survey found that 42% of all adults reported getting sunburned at least once in the past year. One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. A person's risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/14/2015
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Sunburn (Sun Poisoning):

Bad Sunburn - Experience

Have you ever experienced a really bad sunburn? What was it like?

Sunburn - Treatment

What treatment do you use for sunburn relief?

Protect yourself from the sun.

Summer Survival Kit

If your summer includes relaxing on the beach, lake, or river, a well–planned survival kit can ensure that you have a fun and healthy experience. Don't forget the following items when packing your weekend bag:

  1. Sunscreen with adequate protection against both UVA and UVB rays. While sunscreen should be applied at home about a half hour before sun exposure, you'll need to re–apply more when you arrive. Studies show that most people apply far too little sunscreen, and the SPF of any product is reduced when it's applied too thinly. You'll need to reapply sunscreen after swimming or if you perspire a great deal.
  1. A watch of some type to recognize how long you've been in the sun. You also need to know when it's time to avoid sun exposure ? from 10 am to 2 pm, when the sun's rays are most intense.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Sunburn »

Sunburn is an acute cutaneous inflammatory reaction that follows excessive exposure of the skin to ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary