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A woman claims her relaxing holiday abroad turned into a nightmare after she contracted sun poisoning. Her face was left so swollen by the condition that she was unrecognisable.
Abbie Leverseidge, 22, from Northampton, jetted off to the Spanish island of Lanzarote with her boyfriend Kieron, 21, earlier this month. But, on her second day the horrific ordeal began.
The young woman says she burnt her face quite badly in the sun. Usually sunburns can go red or blister but be treated with aloe vera and painkillers.
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However, it soon emerged that Abbie’s burn was taking a turn for the worse as her face began to swell up. She claims she then realised she had sun poisoning – an extreme case of sunburn.
Abbie’s face was so sore and inflamed that she hid her face for the rest of the trip. She was also in extreme pain and pals compared her to the character, Lenny from Shark Tale following the reaction.
Abbie said: "It was horrible because I was so embarrassed. I had to eat dinner with a hat and sunglasses on — I refused to take them off so nobody could see my face.
"I couldn’t be in direct sun, I couldn’t drink alcohol which obviously was so sad because I wanted to have my all-inclusive cocktails!
"I was filled with anxiety after searching online for other people that had it and saw how much worse it could get, especially after I noticed my symptoms were getting worse and my face was swelling more and more.”
She continued: "I didn’t know when it would stop or how bad it would get. At night I was terrified to go to sleep in case I woke up with my eyes completely closed or feeling really unwell."
Abbie’s symptoms started the day after they arrived following a day at a waterpark. At first, she only saw that her face was a bit red.
However, as the week progressed blisters rose up on her forehead and her nose began to leak a strange fluid. After that, her head began to swell up.
Abbie explained: "Throughout that day I noticed I had tiny blisters, which just looked like bumpy parts on my skin on the top of my eyebrows. My main concern at the time was my nose which was leaking fluid and stung.
"On Sunday morning (June 11) we were heading out to a market, and my boyfriend pointed out the space between my eyebrows was swollen but it didn’t look very bad. I’d never really heard of sun poisoning so I didn’t think it could be anything as bad as that!"
Abbie chose to wear sunglasses and a hat to protect her skin from getting worse. They caught a bus back into town and planned to go to the beach – but when she boarded the vehicle Abbie took off her fat and glasses and saw how her sickness had got worse.
She noted: "I was in shock at how bad the swelling was, I had a huge lump in between my eyebrows, and the side of the top of my nose was swollen. I panicked and showed my boyfriend, who also was in shock."
The pair headed to a chemist and were given cream and antibiotics. But, her facial swelling continued to get worse for two days.
She said: "My main symptom was the swelling in my face which over two days got worse. It started on my forehead and nose and eventually made its way to my eyelids, the corner of my eyes and even underneath.
"It wasn’t necessarily painful but it was uncomfortable because my whole face was so heavy and it felt like I couldn’t open my eyes properly. I also felt very tired all of the time and was going to bed very early every night, which was weird for me since I usually am a night owl."
Then, when the couple were ready to go home their flight was cancelled and they had to stay in sunny Lanzarote for another two days. Abbie would usually be happy for a longer holiday, but found it difficult when she had to stay out of the sun.
She commented: "I think this delayed me getting better, but I did try and sit in the shade. I noticed it was going down on Monday night but it didn’t fully go until Thursday or Friday – despite having a blister scab still on my nose."
When she returned Abbie felt a lot better – but wanted other holidaymakers to be aware of getting burnt. She claims it’s “not worth it" to risk sun poisoning.
Abbie said: "I know a lot of people go on holiday or even go out in the sun and don’t care much about their skin, or don’t reapply suncream enough. I was one of those people because I assumed I 'never burn' and it wasn’t 'that bad'.
"Honestly the sunburn on my face didn’t look or even hurt that bad initially, it wasn’t peeling and puss wasn’t coming out of it but still that small amount of sunburn caused me to come out in sun poisoning! Although I am very lucky I made a quick recovery and am back to normal now a lot of people get it a lot worse!
"Getting a tan is great but it’s not worth having a swollen face and having to walk around in a hat and sunglasses constantly. I wasn't able to take nice holiday photos with my boyfriend, I was feeling tired and having to chase the shade constantly!"
To prevent yourself from burning it’s advisable to use a high factor sunscreen and reapply as directed on the bottle.
You can also wear a hat and should make sure you drink enough water throughout the day.
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