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Sunburn pain means economic drain

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GALVESTON, Texas, Aug 26, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The University of Texas reported Tuesday 16 percent of those who suffer sunburn miss an average of two work days annually.

"The economic impact of sunburn is potentially enormous," said Dr. Richard Wagner, researcher and dermatology professor at UT.

The study conclusions are based on surveys conducted on a two-mile stretch of public beach in Galveston, Texas, a popular vacation destination near Houston.

Survey findings suggest nearly 50,000 Galveston County residents miss work as a result of sunburn each year, with more than 90,000 total work days lost at a cost of $10 million.

The study did not take into account sunburn-related expenses, such as fees for visits to doctors' offices and the costs of prescription or over-the-counter medications.

The report -- representing one of the only studies about sunburn's immediate effect on the economy -- was published in the Archives of Dermatology and released online by the American Medical Association.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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