I’m the whitest of white girls. If there is one thing I have always excelled at, it is sunburning. This has been the case my entire life. As an infant, my mom said I could sunburn in the car through tinted windows on the 15 minute drive home from church. Everyone has different super powers.
In the dysautonomia world as a whole, along with the intolerance for heat, there is also an increased sensitivity to the sun and to the everything it seems. If it takes the ‘average’ body, whatever that is, half an hour to burn, it takes the body with dysautonomia half the time.
This is true as I was in the sun the other day. I was sitting in the shade and I honestly thought that I had put on sunscreen before the sun got to me as the shade moved, but I clearly didn’t. See?
Now that I’m a few days out from the burning event, I can confirm what Tom and I were pretty sure of going into the summer: sunburns make my POTS much, much worse.
I’m drinking water and Gatorade by the gallons, literally. I’m trying. I’m also throwing up. I’m also back to perpetually spinning/dizzy. I’m also having a brief pity party which will end shortly, I’m sure of it.
For those of you with functioning autonomic nervous systems, please hydrate and wear sunscreen. I’m familiar with the common thought we won’t have to mess with the potential skin cancer that we earn in our younger years until we’re very, very old. FALSE. My sister-in-law Ashley was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in 2011, at the age of 25.
She is now the official sunscreen police because she has been through all of the fun and aftermath. Spoiler alert: it’s not fun at all.
She also sent me a super cool website that I had previously never seen. I think it’s pretty neat and interesting. It is called sunburnmap.com You can type in a city and state and it will show you the UV index, how many minutes until red, as well as how many minutes until burned pertaining to the forecast for each day. I checked and Antarctica is a great place to avoid sunburns.
Check out the website and please be cautious with the sun. Oh, I also included a picture of what I would look like sunbathing.
Anyways, lesson learned. Sunburns are more than just uncomfortable now. Feel free to let me learn that lesson for you!