What To Do About Sunburn

Sunburn is usually a first- degree burn that involves the outer surface of the skin. Sunburns are painful but can usually be treated at home unless they are extensive . Severe sunburns can be serious in infants, small children, and older adults. Repeated sun exposure and sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer.


If you are going to be outdoor for more than 15 minutes, take the following precautions:

Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, long-sleeved clothes and broad-brimmed hat to shade your face. Wear sunglasses that provide ultraviolet (UV) protection.

Use a sunscreen that has sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply at least 30 minutes before you will be exposed to the sun.

Reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours while in the sun and more often If you are swimming or sweating a lot.

Older adults have sensitive skin and should always use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Drink a lot of water.

Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the burning rays are strongest.

Home Treatment

Drink plenty of water and watch for signs of dehydration.

Cool baths or compresses can be soothing.

A mild fever or headache may accompany sunburn. Lie down in a cool, quiet room to relive headache.

There is nothing you can do to prevent peeling, it is a part of the healing process. Lotion can relieve itching.

When to see a Health Professional

If you develop signs of heat stroke ( red, hot, dry skin, confusion).

If symptoms of dizziness, nausea, headache persist after you have cooled off.

If you develop signs of severe dehydration.

If you have severe blistering ( over 50% of the affected body parts) or severe pain with fever or if you feel very ill.

If you have high-grade fever. By Dr Gary S. Sy, Manila Bulletin