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.

Prevention:

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