It’s summer, which means most of us are out looking for the best place to catch some sun. But some people are allergic to sunlight – these are the common signs and treatment options for sun allergy
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When you think about allergies, many things come to mind from food to dust and pollen – but some people suffer from more seemingly unusual allergies, like to the sun.
A sun allergy is a condition where exposure to the sun causes a reaction on the skin, with one of the most common types of allergies being polymorphic light eruption or sun poisoning, which mostly affects young, fair-skinned women.
Much like hay fever, sun allergies typically begin in the spring and affect parts of the body that are kept covered up during the winter, such as the arms or neck.
Here are the most common symptoms of sun allergy and ways to treat it, according to Parvinder Sagoo, lead pharmacist and health adviser for Simply Meds Online.
What are symptoms of sun allergy?
Early signs and symptoms of sun allergy include itching, redness, soreness and rashes including small red bumps or blisters, which typically occur within minutes or hours after exposure to the sun.
Different people may be affected differently by the sun allergy, with symptoms varying in severity and appearance, which can make diagnosis difficult.
However, one of the biggest giveaways of a sun allergy is that symptoms are triggered by sunlight. So if you feel like you might be experiencing sun allergies, try covering up and see if the symptoms improve.
Fortunately, sun allergies are rarely dangerous and often clear up with time. As long as triggers are avoided, sun allergy symptoms generally go away even without treatment in a few days. But there are some simple ways to treat it.
Ways to treat sun allergy
One of the most effective ways to prevent any allergy – not just to the sun – is to simply avoid the trigger.
So, if you’re affected by sun allergy symptoms, try to reduce exposure to sunlight by wearing suitable clothing, using sunscreen and when possible staying indoors on sunny days.
Something to note is that avoiding direct sunlight for extend periods may lead to vitamin D deficiency, so people with sun allergies may need to take a supplement.
Beside sensitivity to sunlight, summer time when we get hot and sweaty may also put us at risk of other health issues like yeast infections or increased exposure to pollens and grasses, which can cause hay fever, urticaria (hives), eczema and itching; and also insect bites.
The best way to soothe all these symptoms – even if you’re not allergic to the sun – is to avoid the sun, wear thin layers of cotton clothing, keep cool, and shower daily in warm water.
You can also use unscented moisturiser or calamine lotion to ease itching.
If you find that your allergy symptoms are particularly severe or persistent, it’s always best to consult your doctor and see if medical treatment is required.