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Antibiotic Brings on Sunburn

Q. Two weeks ago my husband and I started out on a road trip across the country. At the same time I started on a course of the antibiotic doxycycline. I had been warned that it makes one quite photosensitive, but not that one can get a sunburn through glass! I got a nasty burn through the car windows and was in misery.

A. Most people don’t need to worry about a sunburn through the car windows. The glass blocks the UV-B rays that are responsible for ordinary sunburn. It lets damaging UV-A rays through, though, so someone taking a drug such as doxycycline that increases photosensitivity should wear sunscreen or long sleeves when riding in the car.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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