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What are sun poisoning symptoms?

Last Modified: July 09, 2019

Family Medicine

Too much time in the summer sunshine can lead to dangerous, uncomfortable effects. If you’re experiencing a severe sunburn, you could receive a diagnosis and treatment conveniently on your mobile device or computer using Parkview OnDemand. Stacie Housholder RN, MSN, FNP-C, Parkview Virtual Health, Parkview OnDemand, explains the signs and symptoms and the role a virtual visit plays in getting relief.


The signs of sun poisoning can range from minor to severe. The most common sign of sun poisoning is a bright red color in the sunburned area. Some experience red rash bumps and/or blisters over the area. These symptoms might be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms. The latter are considered more severe symptoms and require further evaluation by a primary care provider or at an Emergency Room, as they are signs of heat exhaustion or dehydration. Sun poisoning can last as little as 2-3 days or up to 2 weeks, depending on the severity.


Minor and mild symptoms can typically be treated by a Parkview OnDemand provider. Treatment recommendations often include applying cool compresses to the area, applying Aloe vera frequently to cool the skin, and ibuprofen or another over-the-counter pain reliever. Providers recommend that the patient start drinking plenty of fluids – water is best –  to replenish electrolytes.

When out in the heat, individuals who are 9-12 years old and the elderly should be consuming 3-8 ounces of water every 20 minutes. Those who are 12 years and older should be consuming about 32-48 ounces of water every hour in order to stay hydrated. Older adults should limit their time outside, and individuals at every age should avoid the sun during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


The American Academy of Dermatology recommends avoiding the sun during peak hours, however, if you are out in the sun during this time you should be using sunscreen or sunblock with SPF 30 or above and reapplying every two hours. Make sure you are applying liberally to all body parts. You can also wear SPF blocking clothing and hats to shield your face.

Other conditions diagnosed via Parkview OnDemand

Parkview OnDemand is available 24/7 to diagnose, treat and provide tips for prevention for you and your loved ones. This is a convenient way to talk to a provider in the comfort of your own home.

In addition to sun poisoning, our team of OnDemand providers can help address a range of other non-emergent conditions, including:

  • Allergies
  • Skin rash
  • Cold
  • Cough
  • Flu
  • Pink eye
  • Sore throat
  • Sinus infection

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