It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that spending too much time in the sun can carry negative effects on the body. When taking certain medications, it should even be avoided. On the other hand, the sun has a beneficial effect on your functioning. The sun's rays affect the growth of hemoglobin and red blood corpuscles, and they in turn affect vitality. At the same time, the increase in the number of white corpuscles improves immunity. After just 20 minutes of contact with the sun, the production of vitamin D begins, which prevents osteoporosis, among other things. Sunlight also improves mood. After all, is it better to be in the sun or not? When to categorically avoid it?
We will try to answer these questions. This is very important because some drugs can cause skin problems - burns, hyperpigmentation, photosensitivity.
How does the sun affect drugs?
Altered by sunlight, drug molecules combine with skin proteins to form allergens. The immune system remembers these allergens and, as a result, various reactions occur after each drug intake and even a short stay in the sun. These can include:
- Photoallergic reactions - appear after taking medications and exposure to sunlight only in sensitive individuals; after 24 hours, allergic lesions accompanied by itching appear on the skin, persist even after contact with the photosensitizer is discontinued;
- Photosensitizing reactions - can occur in any person who takes drugs and exposes the skin to sunlight; the reaction resembles a sunburn, appears only on exposed skin and disappears when the sun's rays are eliminated.
Certain groups of drugs are most likely to cause a photosensitivity reaction. These include:
- cardiovascular drugs,
- anti-inflammatory drugs,
- Neurological and psychoactive drugs,
- Antibacterial and antifungal drugs,
- antidiabetic drugs,
- hormonal drugs,
- Dermatological preparations, such as anti-acne, anti-dandruff preparations,
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs,
- oral contraceptives,
- oils and ointments, which in their composition contain: angelica, St. John's wort, bergamot, calendula, chamomile.
How to effectively protect the skin from the sun?
While taking many of the drugs in the above-mentioned groups, you don't have to give up sun exposure altogether. All you need to do is to be extra careful and take care of yourself. In what way? Remember to use sunscreen, wear natural airy clothing, headgear and sunglasses. It's a good idea to ask your pharmacist or doctor if it's okay to sunbathe when using a certain medication. Read the leaflet, there you will also find information on the effects of sunlight on a particular drug.
And one more thing! Remember that you have contact with the sun not only at the beach. The sun also affects your body while walking or shopping... then you need to take care of yourself too.
How do you store medications?
Storage of medicines is as important as the way they are taken. Drugs in pharmacies are stored in appropriate conditions, that is, at temperatures below 25°C or in the refrigerator, if so recommended by the manufacturer. Drugs under the influence of high temperatures or UV radiation can decompose, change their composition and at the same time lose their therapeutic properties. Thus, they can lead to the appearance of side effects, such as diarrhea, nausea, intoxication, fainting. The pharmacist will tell you if the medicine you buy needs to be stored in the refrigerator. You can also ask him how to store a particular drug during hot weather.
doctor Barbara Rusinek
Specialist in family medicine