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Burns, fainting, eyes most common indoor tanning injuries


 

FROM JAMA INTERNAL MEDICINE

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Skin burns, fainting, and eye injuries are the most common indoor tanning injuries requiring a trip to the local emergency department, according to a research letter published online Dec. 15 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Indoor tanning exposes users to intense ultraviolet radiation, a known carcinogen, but little is known about the more immediate adverse events related to tanning, wrote Gery P. Guy Jr., Ph.D., of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and coauthors.

Skin burns, fainting, and eye injuries are the most commonly reported indoor tanning injuries. ©Bora Ucak/iStockphoto.com

Skin burns, fainting, and eye injuries are the most commonly reported indoor tanning injuries.

After analyzing data from a nationally representative sample of hospital emergency departments from 2003 to 2012, the investigators estimated an average 3,234 indoor tanning–related injuries were treated each year in U.S. hospitals.

The most common injury was skin burns (79.5%), followed by syncope (9.5%) and eye injuries (5.8%).

Injuries occurred most commonly among younger adults and non-Hispanic white females, the populations with the highest rates of indoor tanning.

However, indoor tanning injuries were on the decline, decreasing from 6,487 in 2003 to 1,957 in 2012 (P < .001), a finding that was most likely due to a decline in the use of indoor sun beds, the researchers said.

Most patients did not require hospitalization, but burns severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency department indicate an overexposure to ultraviolet radiation and an increased risk of skin cancer, the investigators added.

Although the Food and Drug Administration required tanning device manufacturers to install timers to limit exposure, several cases described patients falling asleep while tanning, raising concerns about timers malfunctioning or being intentionally overridden, the researchers noted.

The researchers said they had no relevant financial conflicts to disclose.

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