Aussie woman's legs swell after 'insane' festival burns

She recalls the moment her legs felt like they were 'sizzling'.

WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES — One young Aussie has shared a serious warning after horrific sunburn sent her to the emergency room.

On a 24-degree afternoon on December 31, Cassidy Flynn-Troy was dancing and having a few drinks outside at Beyond The Valley festival. At the time she felt some sunburn coming on, but by January 2, after driving back to Melbourne, she was sent to the emergency room with swollen legs covered in giant blisters.

"The pain I experienced when I realised how bad it was, was insane," she told Yahoo News Australia. She warns others to "never just assume that because it's not too hot you don't need to wear sunscreen. This is something I would never want anyone to experience so please please please be smart and safe when you're in the sun."

Screenshots of Cassidy's sunburn which is red and covered in giant blisters.
Cassidy has warned other Aussies against underestimating the sun - even on cool days. Source: TikTok

Cassidy, who is on Roaccutane, a medical treatment used to treat acne, so is more sensitive to the sun, recalls how "crazy" it was to not realise her sunburn was so bad until it was "critical". She had put on sunscreen earlier in the day of the festival but only noticed a slight burn in the evening. "I started to feel a bit of pain, but did not think much of it," she said.

At around 2 am, the pain had "fully kicked in" and Cassidy's legs felt like "they were on fire" so she and her friend walked two kilometres from their campsite to the festival to find the emergency tent.

"I tried to roll up my pants and noticed my legs were bright red and sizzling. I was incredibly dehydrated as well so I started to panic and hallucinate a bit at this point."

At the time, staff put cold water on her legs and gave her pain medication to help her sleep until the next day when she packed up her camping gear and drove back to Melbourne.

Then, the blisters started to grow and Cassidy's legs swelled. "When I arrived back at my house I didn't even have the energy to do anything besides sleep. The next day, I could barely walk."

Cassidy's friend took her to the local Primary Care Clinic which immediately sent her to the emergency at the Royal Melbourne Hospital where a "great nurse" drained all the blisters and dressed them. She was then ordered to rest, moisturise and stay hydrated until healed.

Aussies shocked at sunburn on 24-degree day

Cassidy shared her experience online and hundreds responded in disbelief. "It was only 24 degrees how?" one person asked. "Did you orbit the sun while you were there? This is insane," exclaimed another.

Professor Anne Cust of the Melanoma Institute Australia and Chair of Cancer Council’s National Skin Cancer Committee told Yahoo that sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes on a fine January day in Australia.

"The UV index levels are much higher here so we have very intense exposure to UV radiation — particularly in the spring and summer, it doesn't take long to be to get burned."

Beyond the Valley festival takes place over New Year's. Crowd shot.
Beyond the Valley festival takes place over New Year's. Source: Facebook

Australia and New Zealand UV highest in the world

Due to the exposure to UV radiation Aussies have over their lifetime, they have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. Anne explains that when your unprotected skin is exposed to this radiation, the structure and behaviour of the cells can change which can permanently damage the skin.

"There's been a lot of studies that have demonstrated convincingly that getting sunburned is related to increased risk of melanoma," she says.

Paediatric dermatologist Professor Deshan Sebaratnam shares that sunburn is a distress signal from your skin that contributes to the aging of the skin as well as melanoma. "It's a marker of significant ultraviolet radiation leading to the death of the top layer of the skin."

Skin cancer in Australia fast facts

  • Every year in Australia, skin cancers account for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers.

  • Around two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime.

  • Exposure to UV radiation causes 95% of melanomas, the deadliest form of skin cancer. "This means that skin cancer is almost entirely preventable," Anne says.

  • Every year, over 2000 people in Australia are expected to die from skin cancer.

How to prevent sunburn

Australians need to be SunSmart and protect themselves from the sun, particularly when the UV index is "greater than or equal to 3" by using all forms of sun protection:

  • Slip on protective clothing.

  • Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen.

  • Slap on a broad-brimmed hat.

  • Seek shade and slide on sunglasses.

  • Avoid the sun during the middle of the day.

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