What are the symptoms of sunburn?
Sunburn results in painful, reddened skin. Severe sunburn may produce swelling and blisters. Symptoms may begin as soon as one hour after exposure and typically reach their peak after one day. Some severely sunburned people develop a
fever, chills, weakness and on rare occasions go into shock.
Several days after sunburn, people with naturally fair skin may have peeling in the burned areas, usually accompanied by itching. The peeled areas are even more sensitive to sunburn for several weeks. People who have had severe sunburns when young are at a greater risk of skin cancers in later years, than if they had not had long-term sun exposure.
Mild and uncomplicated cases of sunburn usually result in minor skin redness and irritation. Untreated and with enough exposure, you can experience shock (poor circulation to vital organs) and even death. Sufficient exposure can become remarkably painful.
Initially, your skin turns red about 2-6 hours after exposure and feels irritated. The peak effects are noted at 12-24 hours. More severe cases, such as those experienced by rafters (Cuban and other island peoples fleeing their countries on homemade rafts) are complicated by severe skin burning and blistering, massive fluid loss (dehydration), electrolyte imbalance, and infection.
Severe sunburns may cause a person to go into shock, which is characterized by fainting, low blood pressure, and severe weakness. Immediate medical attention is necessary if this occurs. The symptoms of a sunburn may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.