Hi! My daughter (11yrs old) started to have problem with sun exposure just this summer. For about 7 times now..she had swollen eyes,nose and cheeks after an hour or so under the sun. She always apply sunblock though. It's a pity that she can't enjoy outdoors now as much as loves to. I wonder what could be causing this and how to prevent it from reoccuring. Please advise....thanks.
Hi, the condition suggests angioedema which is due to hypersensitivity reaction (type 1).
Drugs like amoxicillin, ACE inhibitors, stress, excitement, cold exposure, prolonged sitting or standing, and ingestion of certain foods can cause such reaction. This can also be seen with sun exposure in some individuals. She needs to avoid triggering factors. Photosensitivity can be decreased by avoiding direct sunlight or wearing protective clothing with sunscreen (SPF more than 15).
Anti-histaminics and corticosteroids are the standard mode of treatment which should be taken after consultation from physician without delay. Take care and regards.
I work for a company called Clinuvel which is developing a protective drug for people with various diseases commonly called ‘sun allergies’ or photosensitivity disorders, but we also do awareness work online, which is how I found your post.
You daughter may be suffering from photosensitivity, an abnormal skin reaction to sunlight. There are several components to sunlight which vary according to their wavelength, including visible light (400-700nm), UVA (315-400nm) and UVB (280-315nm) radiation; all emitted by the sun.
People with ‘sun allergies’ can be sensitive to one or more of these wavelengths. There are certain conditions and diseases which cause photosensitivity from visible light, meaning certain houselights and even laptop screens can cause problems.
There are many potential causes of photosensitivity:
• Certain medicines contain substances which can photosensitise the skin of susceptible people
• Contact with specific plants, dyes, fragrances or other chemicals can induce photosensitivity
• A variety of skin disorders, called photodermatoses, that cause photosensitivity – some examples include polymorphic light eruption (PLE/PMLE), solar urticaria (a true ‘sun allergy’) and actinic prurigo
• Metabolic conditions can create photosensitivity. The most common of these are the porphyrias, which result in the build up of photosensitising chemicals, called porphyrins, in the skin
• Genetic skin disorders, such as the rare disease xeroderma pigmentosum
• Underlying skin disease, such as eczema (atopic dermatitis) or psoriasis, can be sometimes exacerbated by sun exposure
So, as you can see, there are a wide variety of factors and conditions that can cause photosensitivity. You should see a qualified physician, preferably a dermatologist, to correctly diagnose your daughter’s individual symptoms: sometimes the photosensitivity can be masking other underlying problems. Their investigation may involve taking her symptom history, family history of skin conditions, physical examination and tests where necessary (i.e. phototests, photopatch tests or blood tests).
If you believe the sun is definitely the issue, seek a referral to a dermatologist who specializes in photosensitivity disorders, as many go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to their rarity and the difficulty of identifying UV or light as the cause.
For our part, we are working on a drug to try and prevent symptoms of photosensitive disorders, but it is still undergoing clinical trials. We’ve set up a Facebook group for people affected by various disorders, and it might be of interest for you to chat with them (look for the Photoprotection Network - sorry, I don't want to breach MedHelp's ToCs and post direct links). I hope this helps!
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