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Preventing & Treating Sunburns

September 21, 2020

With summer’s warm weather right around the corner, it’s tempting to soak it all in. Before dedicating your skin to the summer sun, be sure that you are protected and know how to treat sunburns.

Ways To Prevent Sunburns?

By following a few guidelines, you can keep you and your family safe. Remember, the most obvious sign of excess sun exposure is a sunburn. Below are a few ways you can be protected:

Find shade:
  • If an activity must be performed outdoors, try to engage while under a shaded area.
Apply sunscreen:
  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. An SPF of 30 or higher is enough to protect the skin from UVA & UVB rays. Don’t forget your feet, hands and ears. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and don’t forget to wear it on cloudy days too.
Keep an eye on the clock:
  • The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 am & 4:00 pm. Try to limit sun exposure during these times.
Wear a hat:
  • Hats provide shade where there is none. A wide-brimmed hat is best but baseball caps work well too. Just be sure to apply sunscreen on any exposed skin.
Wear long sleeves and pants:
  • Clothing can assist in protecting the skin. Dry clothes with dark colors offer good protection. Some clothing manufacturers offer clothing with UV ray blocking material. Just be sure to read the label carefully.

What Should I Look Out For With Sunburns?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know just how long you can stay in the sun before damage occurs.

  • Itchy skin
  • Red skin
  • Hot skin
  • Skin turns white when touched
  • Tight or swollen skin
  • Skin that appears dry or dehydrated

If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, it’s time to retreat to the indoors and seek treatment.

What Should You Do If You Find Yourself With A Sunburn?

there are a few treatment options that can soothe the burning and swelling.

Cold compress:
  • Apply a cold compress to the burned area can offer relief from the pain. If the compress is too cold, wrap it in a towel and apply to the skin
Medicated cream or gel:
  • Topical ointments containing Menthol, Camphor and Aloe help to ease any discomfort. For added relief, place the cream or gel in the fridge for 20 minutes prior to application
Drink water:
  • Since sunburns can draw moisture away from other parts of the body, staying hydrated is very important following a sunburn. If plain water is not refreshing enough, consider eating a piece of water-rich fruit. Watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe all contain a high content of water and can assist in the rehydration process.
Protect skin as it heals:
  • Following a sunburn, it is best to nurture the skin for a few days so as not to cause further damage. Applying a body oil that contains Vitamin E can soothe skin. After, apply a thick moisturizer to seal in the Vitamin E. Additionally, it is best to stay out of the sun until the burn has completely healed.

When Should I seek Medical Attention For A Sunburn?

At times, a sunburn is worse than imagined. If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Fever over 102 degrees
  • Chills
  • Severe Pain
  • Signs of dehydration (Dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth, reduced urination, etc)

NextCare Urgent Care centers are equipped to assist in the case of an extreme sunburn. Stop by the location nearest you for relief,