To relieve the itching and pain caused by sunburns, WebMD recommends using cooling gels containing aloe vera, taking anti-inflammatory painkillers such as aspirin or acetaminophen, using cool compresses and avoiding further exposure to the sun. Serious sunburns or heat stroke require medical attention.
WebMD states that direct exposure to ultraviolet rays in sunlight can result in damage to the skin once the body's protective pigmentation is overwhelmed. Fair skinned and light haired individuals are especially vulnerable to sunburn as are people taking certain kinds of medications, including but not limited to NSAIDS and tetracylcene, Sunburn symptoms may have a delayed onset. The symptoms of mild sunburns include redness, pain, itching and skin that is hot to the touch. More severe sunburns may blister and peel. Extremely severe sunburns may result in fever, chills, weakness and even shock. Extremely severe sunburns are dangerous and require medical attention.
Related to sunburns is a condition known as photosensitivity. Photosensitive individuals break out in a rash when exposed to sunlight. Photosensitivity can result from metabolic illnesses like porphyria or lupus, exposure to various plants or chemicals, medications including but not limited to sulfanomides and tetracycline and herbal supplements such as St. John's wort. Photosensitivity may be treated with oral steroids, beta-carotene or other medications, according to WebMD.