Allergy season is in full swing, whether it’s ragweed, pollen and more. But did you know there one thing you could be allergic to? The sun?
According to the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, being allergic to the sun affect up to 20% of the U.S. population.
“Sun allergies are basically an immune reaction to the sun,” said Dr. Jay Kang from UPMC Hamot.
And the sun is out and the heat is on high this week. “I think it’s something we especially in our area have to be we aware of with the temperatures in the all week long,” said Dr. Kang.
As with most allergic reactions, sun reactions can happen fast.
“Interesting thing to know is that can happen a very short period of time maybe even less than 15 minutes of exposure can cause it. Not everyone is affected equally,” said Dr. Kang.
The sun can cause a rash known as PMLE (polymorphous light eruption).
“It tends to occur in sun-exposed areas usually early in the season. So when people start to go out with bare arms and bare faces and so on, they start to get it on their arms and faces. There are allergic hives that are produced by sun exposure. There are hives that are produced by exposure to heat. And there is polymorphous light eruption,” said Dr. Philip Gallagher from St. Vincent.
According to Dr. Kang, reaction are usually self-contained to certain areas.
“Common ares that we see is the front of the chest, back of the shoulders, arms, and legs,” said Dr. Kang.
There is no formal testing to receive the diagnosis. Dr. Gallagher says it can be done yourself.
“So if you go out in the sun and you break out in hives, then you very well may have the sunlight causing the allergic cells in you skin to release histamine,” said Dr. Gallagher.
The treatments for a sun allergy are simple and can aid in overall sun safety.
“Getting out of the sun, for one. Using cool compresses. Hydration is important. Sometimes you need to take some ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory sort of medication. And if those things are not working. it’s probably smart to contact your medical doctor. There are instances in which you may need some steroids, maybe ointments, maybe oral steroids, maybe some benadryl, or some anti-allergic type of medication,” said Dr. Kang.
Professionals say to cover-up and us sunscreen as preventative measures.
Getting out of the sun. Using sun smart behavior. Hydration. Using cool compresses. all of those things will help relax it,” said Dr. Kang.
This summer, make sure to use sun smart behavior and stay safe.