General Question

food's avatar

If you get sunburned, is inflammation in your legs due to the sunburn only?

Asked by food (790points) March 26th, 2010

Could it be due to something else, such as a drop of lemon juice getting mixed in with your sunblocker, by accident? Suppose you got badly burned, then stayed out in the sun so you finally put your sunblocker on. Then the next day your legs and feet were swollen and you couldn´t even stand up.

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16 Answers

janbb's avatar

It sounds like a severe burn or sun poisoning. I don’t think the lemon juice would have anything to do with it. You might want to see a doctor.

majorrich's avatar

A mild sunburn is often referred to as a first degree burn, which is sun/heat/uv damage to the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis. Usually there is no swelling although the very outer layer of skin cells will peel and be tender.

A severe sunburn can be the equivalent to a second degree burn such as might be caused by scalding water and causes damage to the deeper layer of skin called the dermis. This can be accompanied with blistering and fluid build-up. Over a larger surface area this can be serious and may warrant a visit to a physician to be sure you aren’t really injured badly. These burns can be very painful and may cause scarring if it is very severe. The swelling is fluids called edema which is the body’s way of protecting itself from the burned and damaged skin. The epidermis is almost certainly damaged and will surely peel. Infection is a distinct possibility.

food's avatar

Wow! I never heard of sun poisoning. I was doing water sports for two hours, maybe the reflection on the water made it worse. I saw a doctor and he told me what to take and rub on (aspirin, steroid cream, vaseline, chamomile tea cold compresses), but I was just curious about getting more explanations about the edemas, etc. that we didn´t have time to go through in the appointment.
The doctor said it was still a first degree burn (I wonder? he said it was because I didn´t have any boils (yet!! I would say), but he did say the epidermis was going to peel definitely.

food's avatar

Hey fellow cat I wonder if this means I have eight lives left

majorrich's avatar

Edema is the clear fluid that accumulates when you have a blister such as you might get with ill-fitting shoes. Some people (ill advisedly) lance these blisters to drain the fluid off. Over a larger surface area the body is literally isolating itself from the damaged skin to grow new skin and preparing to sluff off the old. Kind of like molting. It’s going to itch pretty good and the doctor probably recommended asprins to control the pain and Cortizone or similar topical steroid to help speed the healing and control the itching. DONT RUB IT IN TOO HARD! it will make it worse. Definitely used up about a quarter of a life here.
I burned my feet pretty badly once many years ago and had to wear shower shoes with my suit to work. It was quite painful.

majorrich's avatar

Drink lots of fluids! pretty important.

food's avatar

yes it does itch! oh my goodness, how awful that you burned your feet(!) I´m supposing you mean the bottom of your feet (!!!) not the top, like my case…
That is good that you say to drink fluids, because if one retains water, one would think that one should not drink fluids… the doctor didn´t tell me anything about that…I guess he forgot.
Infection… what about infection? It´s a possibility if… and how should I recognize it or when should I call the doctor again….
Good thing I know the cream is for the itch, that way I´ll make sure I stock up on it

food's avatar

Because I´m going on a trip, not because I plan to pile it on

food's avatar

I´m getting itchy just thinking that I already put my last coat of cream for the day on myself… but I still have vaseline

majorrich's avatar

I burned the tops, just like you. Couldn’t stand to have socks nor shoes for about a week.

thriftymaid's avatar

You may have sun poisoning. That causes severe swelling. Take some Benedryl and drink a lot of water and if the swelling doesn’t immediately (within hours) improve, call your doctor. That’s what I would do anyway. I have had this more than once.

faye's avatar

Why would lemon juice in your lotion do anything?

susanc's avatar

@majorrich, check me on this, but I believe infection is only to be feared if you rip the top layer of skin and expose the raw tissue underneath. That’s the reason you don’t
want to pop the blistering.

majorrich's avatar

There is a little bit of ick that comes in with the serum as the skin degrades, but by that time there is enough skin to protect her from a large infection. Should monitor vitals periodically. The body will see this as a trauma and will act stressed. Elevated temp, BP and Pulse. Keep the floppy skin on as long as you can stand it, then cover it loosely with sterile or at least clean, loose fitting clothing.

food's avatar

Well, I just looked at my profile and noticed I hadn´t let you know what happened. I went to the dermatologist and he recommended placing chamomile compresses on my legs as well as plain vaseline and they worked wonderfully

food's avatar

Now my legs look normal thank God

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