Shining a Light on Sun Allergies
Here comes the sun doo doo doo doo. While most people in Houston, Texas are excited for warm days full of blue skies and sunshine, those with a sun allergy are anything but.
If you have a sun allergy you may develop an itchy red rash after exposure to sunlight. The most common type of this allergy is polymorphic light eruption, also known as sun poisoning. No one knows for sure why some individuals have this intense reaction to the sun and others don’t. Allergy specialists think the condition may be hereditary, or caused by certain medications, chemicals or medical conditions that make an individual’s skin more sensitive to sun.
Signs of a Sun Allergy
Redness, itching, pain, tiny blisters that may merge into raised patches, scaling, crusting, bleeding, blisters or hives are the most common symptoms of a sun allergy. These symptoms typically develop only after sun exposure. The amount of sunlight needed to elicit these symptoms is entirely dependent on the person.
Mild cases often clear up without treatment. If you experience an unusual or particularly bothersome reaction, contact your Houston allergy specialist. Once at your Houston allergy center, your allergist will examine your skin. While this is typically all that is required to make a diagnosis, some may need additional testing to be sure. The following tests may be completed:
- Ultraviolet light testing. This test is used to see how your skin reacts to different wavelengths of light.
- Photopatch testing. This test involves placing substances on your skin and seeing how they react when you are exposed to sunlight.
- Blood tests and skin samples. These tests are typically not needed to diagnose a sun allergy; they are ordered if your doctor thinks the symptoms are caused by an undying condition, like lupus.
Once your Houston allergy specialist has determined the cause of your sun allergy, they can create a treatment plan. For mild cases, simply avoiding the sun will be all that is needed. For a more serious reaction, over-the-counter or prescription corticosteroid creams are needed. Severe reactions may require an oral corticosteroid or malaria medication.
If you think you may have a sun allergy, visit your Houston allergy specialist to know for sure.