Joined: 21 August 2007
Here are some home remedies and treatment tips from common sun problems like sunburn, prickly heat, heat stroke, heat exhaustion, Photosensitization, sun tan and Polymorphic light eruption.
Sunburn has long-term detrimental effects on the skin and should be avoided. Contrary to popular myth you do not have to burn to get a tan. And, just in case you're still wondering, you can still get a tan using high protection factors. If you do burn, however, keep your skin cool and clean and soothe it with calamine lotion or natural yoghurt. Aloe vera is another good sunburn calmer, as is the essential oil from the bark of the tea tree. Simply add 2-3 drops of it to 10ml of a carrier oil such as wheatgerm or avocado, a\ ailable in most health food stores and chemists.
It you burn badly over most of your body, you may need to rest in bed and drink plenty of fluids. You definitely should not sunbathe the following day, or until the redness has gone. Seek medical advice for severe burns.
This spotty rash occurs as a result of blocked sweat glands, mostly appearing on the chest, back and arms, and you can take steps to prevent it.
Avoid strong sunlight, especially between eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon when the sun is at its strongest. Wear high-factor sunscreens that screen out both UVA and UVB rays. Take cool showers or bathe frequently, patting the skin dry afterwards. Also avoid activities that make you sweat a lot.
If you do develop prickly heat, stay in the cool, apply calamine lotion or talcum powder and wear loose clothing. Prickly heat is often confused with polymorphic light eruption.
Avoid succumbing to either heat exhaustion or heat-stroke by resisting the temptation to lie in the hot sun for hours on end. Keep your body cool by going for a swim at regular intervals.
Don't fall asleep in the sun. If you begin to feel woozy or headachey, retreat to the shade immediately and cool yourself down with cold compresses or a tepid bath and sip liquids. Orange juice is good because it replaces potassium lost through sweating.
Drink at least two litres (three to four pints) of water a day, and don't rely on thirst as an indicator of dehydration - you could easily be dehydrated and yet not feel thirsty. Don't drink alcohol or caffeinated drinks as these have a diuretic effect, adding to dehydration.
If, despite these precautions, you develop symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat-stroke, take the following steps immediately:
There are three types of heat exhaustion, all of which can be fatal: water deficiency, salt deficiency and anhidrotic.
The symptoms of water deficiency heat exhaustion include thirst, lack of appetite, giddiness, a dry mouth and rising temperature. Rest in cool surroundings and drink half a liter (about a pint) of water every fifteen minutes for two hours. Seek medical help if your symptoms continue.
Salt deficiency heat exhaustion occurs if you have been sweating heavily during the first few days of acclimatization to a very hot climate and have not eaten properly. Fatigue, giddiness and severe muscle cramps are symptoms of this type of heat exhaustion. If you think you may be suffering from this condition see a doctor.
Anhidrotic heat exhaustion is a rare malfunction of the sweat glands, which occurs in people who have been in a hot climate for several months.
The symptoms of heat stroke are that your body temperature rises but
you do not sweat as this heat-regulating mechanism is not functioning
correctly. You develop a severe headache, feel faint or disorientated,
stagger or start to convulse.
The skin is hot and may feel dry. 'Sunstroke' is an incorrect term - you can get heat-stroke without being in the sun.
Heat-stroke can be extremely dangerous, or even fatal, so call an ambulance or ask someone to drive you to the emergency department of a nearby hospital.
The skin can react to plant and fruit extracts and juices (figs in particular), drugs or chemicals when exposed to the sun, resulting in a sore, itchy red rash or blisters.
Soothe with cold compresses, showers and calamine lotion.
If you are going to sunbathe, avoid using perfume, aftershave, anti-bacterial soaps, artificial sweeteners, medications containing diuretics or tranquillizers.
This is a common condition whereby the skin is abnormally sensitive to
sunlight. It usually starts in the spring when sunlight becomes
stronger and lasts throughout the summer, causing itching, redness and
a variety of rashes. It is thought that UVA plays a particular role in
PLE and one clinical trial reported good results when sufferers used a
sunscreen with very high levels of UVA protection.
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Common problems and simple solutions
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