- 3 years ago
I’d like to share my experience as well. I just finished up getting through this two days ago with sunburn on my shoulders. Worst thing in the world. During the flair-ups, I was either pacing and panting uncontrollably, or balled up on the floor crying, shaking, and pounding my head into the carpet (not something that I usually do, btw). I’ve tried to describe the “psychological effects” to others, but it is impossible. The sensation is like a combination of hundreds of fire ants or hornets crawling madly and biting under your skin, along with the most intense itching beyond what you could imagine, along with….. heat that feels like someone is taking a blowtorch to your affected area. You will literally try to think of ways to make yourself go unconscious.
These flair-ups, or “episodes” lasted for 30-40 minutes each time, and by the time they calmed down, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I tried lidocaine spray, aloe, vicks, and even peppermint oil. They ALL made it much worse.
This starts almost exactly 48 hours after a sunburn apparently, as did mine, and only effects about 1-5% of people I hear. I’m a bigger guy (6’1” / 280lbs) so I decided to take a double dose of 4 Benadryl / 100mg total at a time, along with 3 ibuprofens / 600 mg total, and repeat about every 4 hours. Benadryl label says 2 pills every 4-6 hours, but for me, the Benadryl took nearly two hours to kick in, so I repeated this regiment every 4 hours.
After a few doses and doing better, I decreased the Benadryl to 3 pills. You will be EXTREMELY sleepy and unable to drive safely, or attend work / school for a day or two. You may also experience some diarrhea from the Benadryl, so drink alot of water. Sleep will be your friend in time of trouble.
I went to an urgent care center, and the doctor simply didn’t understand, despite me explaining, and saying that I looked it up online (and told her I knew she probably hated to hear that lol). She dismissed it as simple sunburn and gave me a prescription of 50mg of Prednizone pills to “help with the swelling”. Based on other things I’ve been reading, I suspect that these Prednizone pills may also be helping me, so I would recommend this to others as well. As directed, you will want to take food with Prednizone, which I did, and I had not issues at all with upset stomach, etc, and was fine.
To also help through the worst of the flair-ups, thanks to the internet and people sharing their experiences, I would take an extremely hot shower. It hurts, but it takes the itching / crawling sensation out of the mix temporarily. A hot blow dryer will also help when you can’t be in the shower. This sounds horrible, but I would also press my fingernails VERY hard into my shoulders (where my pain was) on and off about 1 second on, 1 second off. Again, painful, but helped with the itching / crawling sensation during the episodes a bit.
Mine started almost exactly 48 hours after getting the sunburn, and I ended up with about 5 episodes spread out over a 14 hour period, which was undoubtedly shortened due to the heavy Benadryl, Ibuprofen (and maybe the Prednizone).
I really hope this info is helpful to anyone who needs it. This is horrible, and I hope you feel better soon.
EDIT: It’s been a couple of days, and there have still been some residual times of itches that seems to come on. Makes my heart race a little in fear it’s starting to come back big time, so I’ve been taking 2 Benadryl (the recommended dose, now) once or twice a day as I feel some itching just to be safe. Seems to be doing the trick without putting me completely to sleep.