The answer to whether anyone can be poisoned by the sun is no…and yes. Sun poisoning is a real condition, but the term is a misnomer. No one can literally be poisoned by the sun. Instead, it’s a term used when a person gets severely sunburned.
Sun Poisoning Symptoms
Your aging relative can get a sunburn from just 15 minutes out in the sun without protection. Sun poisoning happens when the older adult is out in the sun for a longer period of time, making them get a particularly bad case of sunburn.
Symptoms of sun poisoning include:
- Red skin with blisters
What to Do When a Senior Has Sun Poisoning
If your older family member experiences sun poisoning, you can help to ease the symptoms by taking the following steps:
Get the senior out of the sun.
Help them to use cold compresses on the burn or take a cool bath.
Make sure they drink extra water for the next couple of days.
Use over-the-counter medications to reduce pain.
Apply aloe vera gel or a moisturizer to the older adult’s skin.
Until the sunburn heals, keep the skin completely covered whenever the senior goes outside.
In some cases, people with sun poisoning need immediate medical attention. If you see the following symptoms, go to the emergency room or call 911 immediately:
- The sunburn blisters or covers a lot of the skin.
- The pain is severe.
- The senior’s face swells.
- They are dehydrated.
- They experience fever and chills.
- They faint or seem confused.
How to Prevent Sun Poisoning
Preventing sun poisoning involves taking the same protective measures used to avoid sunburn. Practicing sun safety involves:
Sunscreen: Seniors should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before they go outside. Then, reapply it every 2 hours, sooner if the older adult has been sweating or has gone swimming.
Avoid Peak Sun: The sun’s rays are the strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Plan the senior’s outdoor activities for earlier or later in the day. Or, stay in the shade as much as possible.
Protective Clothing: Lightweight clothing with long sleeves and pant legs offers another layer of protection from the sun while still being comfortable in the heat. In addition, seniors should wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.
Home care can assist your aging relative with being safe in the sun. A home care provider can help them to apply sunscreen, especially on parts of the body they cannot reach, like their back or lower legs. Home care providers can also find shady places for the older adult to sit when they are outside and ensure they don’t stay out too long. In addition, a senior care provider can help them to choose appropriate clothing and remind them to put on a hat.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Dana Point, CA, please contact the caring staff at Canaan Home Care today!