How To Treat Sunburn at the end of a long day? Did you get too much sun today?
Do you know how to treat sunburn? Your sunburn? With all this awareness that we now have about how sunburn harms our skin, I don’t even know how to treat sunburn should I get one!
Sure, I know what we have always done. But is that the best way to treat sunburn? So I went to check out several of my first aid references to see what those in the know were suggesting. Maybe we need to change the way we treat sunburns.
My go-to has always been Aloe Vera or another sunburn ointment. New things are being introduced all the time, and new cures can sometimes come with a better healing time. So I checked SkinCancer.org to see what they were sharing about healing sunburn.
How To Treat Mild Sunburn At Home
Your skin can burn if it gets too much sun without proper protection from sunscreen and clothes. To help heal and soothe stinging skin, it is important to begin …
Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin. If a particular area feels especially uncomfortable, you may want to apply a hydrocortisone cream that you can buy without a prescription.
Don’t use or treat sunburn with “-caine” products (such as benzocaine), as these may irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.
Do you go to the beach with treatment for sunburn? What is your history of sunburn, does it happen often? If so, maybe you should carry a moisturizer that contains Aloe vera or soy to soothe your sunburned skin.
Something I did not realize is that you may not know you have a sunburn for a few hours. You may feel fine when you first leave the sun-fun places. As you drive home from the beach or lake, you may be nearly home before you feel the effects of too much sun.
Having some first aid to use after the sun exposure will ease you into your healing time so much easier. After removing your swimsuit, a quick shower, if they are available will send you home more comfortably.
Don’t wait until the sunburn is evident to treat it. Get a jump on your treatment for your skin, and take care of it before you become uncomfortable.
I did not always know that just a low dose of Tylenol or Asprin would help you to feel better. If you have to drive before reaching home after a day in the sun, you can cool the exposed skin with a cool wet rag, as well as the Tylenol or Asprin before heading home.
Yes, mild sunburn can be treated at home, but a more severe sunburn with blistered skin requires prompt medical attention. The long-term effects of repeated bouts of sunburn can leave damaged skin.
More information: Sunburn
How To Treat Sunburn Fast
An important first aid step is to drink plenty of water. This helps rehydrate you and gives your body something to work with in the effort to take care of you. It is a simple thing, but so often overlooked.
The other thing for your early first aid treatment before heading home? A topical cream or aloe vera treatment for sunburned skin. Make sure there are no petroleum products in the first aid treatment as they may cause a deeper skin burn.
Products with a petroleum base like vaseline, will hold the heat and not allow the skin to cool. If there happens to be alcohol in the petroleum-based cream there is a definite chance for more burn. Read the label!
Your youngsters will be happier when you reach home if you take a bit of first aid to apply before heading home.
Seems like my kids were always hot, tired, and cranky. They had a Mom who didn’t have a clue about how to help them. We could have all had a better ride home had we been aware.
Suggestions For A Better End Of Sun Fun Day
So go prepared with some first aid before you leave home. This makes the drive back home better for all. In hindsight, a small styrofoam cooler would have been a great first aid kit! Put in some ice, and bottles of water. A clean dry washcloth for each of us. A tube of sunburn ointment.
The ice would have melted, but the water would be cool still, and the washcloths could be wet with the melted ice and would feel good patted on faces and shoulders. The cream is cool to apply to tender skin. How hard would that be to do?
Stay alert to delayed reactions to too much sun. Keep drinking water.
Don’t Forget These Simple Tips
Recommended First Aid
- Drink water
- A cool shower
- Apply ointments or creams for sunburned skin
- Take anti-inflammatories like Tylenol or Aspirin
- Stay out of the direct sun, in the shade, or under the air conditioning.
Severe Sunburn Warnings
If after a few hours you aren’t more comfortable, you may have a severe sunburn. The cool showers and ointments and antiinflammatories just can’t seem to reduce the pain. You probably have a severe sunburn. Ooh no, now what?
Let’s start first with what not to do:
- Don’t pop blisters on your skin. They need to heal at their own pace. This can cause infection.
- Avoid alcohol-based creams on your skin. This stops heat from escaping and may make the burn worse.
- Don’t peel the skin off as it heals.
- Forget scrubs on affected skin surfaces.
- Allow the skin to fall off in the shower, on your bed, or as you towel dry after the shower.
Be very wise about going back out in the sun without a sun blocking wide-brimmed hat or long-sleeved, loose-fitting shirt or long pants. Help your skin heal before re-exposing to the direct sun’s rays.
Don’t forget to drink lots of water.
How Do I Know If I Have A Severe Sunburn?
Severe sunburn can include one or all of these symptoms:
- Blistering over large areas of face, shoulders, back, chest, arms, and legs
- Burn that also includes a high fever
- A great deal of almost unbearable pain
- Headache, confusion, and vision problems along with your burn
- Nausea and chills
- Severe dehydration (fluid loss)usually causes dizziness and unsteadiness when on your feet.
Realize that you have a dangerous condition, and can suffer complications if you don’t get help. If you are not feeling better and your sunburn getting more comfortable in two days, it is time to seek medical help.
You could have had sunstroke or you may have an infection. Either condition needs medical evaluation and treatment.
Sunburn and Heat-Related Illness
In our part of the world, here in central Texas we often expect to have sunburn when out in the sun over a longer period of time. Our heat, and humidity, with the direct sun’s rays between 10 AM and 4 PM seem a sure combination for sunburn. Protection is a better option,
Can you guess the number one reason we get sunburn? We don’t know if there is a safer way. With a bit of awareness we can scale this down, and keep ourselves and our families safer.
Our kids did exhibit light symptoms of another heat-related condition, heatstroke.
We all seem to expect to get sunburned, but when the symptoms of heatstroke appear, we need to educate our kids as well as ourselves. Sunburn leading to sunstroke often go together.
If our kids are involved in sports that practice outside in the hot times of the year, they need to know how to protect themselves.
We as parents need to know that those coaches are heat aware. Often the grueling exercises can be dangerous. Public schools have few facilities for our kids to exercise and condition in comfort. Our kids have the heat and humidity. Other kids have cold weather conditions that can also be dangerous.
Let’s face it, we all need to stay aware, so heatstroke is the next natural hazard to know more about.
As you are getting some basic information in your mind about this sun-sunburn-heat-related condition, please remember that this information is not to be instead of a Doctors visit.
This is to help you decide if an office call is a good idea. I do not profess to be any more than a concerned Mom sharing information that helps me feel better about the sun and heat in our part of the world.
Symptoms Of Heatstroke:
- A body temperature of 104*- remember your home thermometers may not always be accurate. Recognize that a temp above 102* can cause problems.
- Cramps in major muscles and weakness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- A very fast heart rate
- Shallow and rapid breathing, kind of a soft pant movement
- Headache and extreme headaches
- Seizures, confusion, hallucinations, or difficulty speaking
- Not sweating despite hot external temperatures
- Cramps in major muscles and weakness
- Nausea and/or vomiting
The other important thing to keep in mind is that a bad sunburn will increase the risk of heatstroke for your kids and yourself. Damaged skin will not sweat and cool as well as healthy skin.
A big part of treating a sunburn involves staying out of the sun and or heat. Don’t go back out into the sun or heat until you’ve had a chance to heal.
While we tend to not get as excited about sunburn, as a Heatstroke, do not disregard sunburn. It will lead to skin cancer. It is a roll of the dice about how many sunburns you can have before skin cancer will develop. Treat these skin conditions with awareness. Sunburn is dangerous!
If your kid’s coaches knew and appreciated how dangerous skin cancer can be they might be more reasonable and arrange practice sessions with more of the kid’s safety in mind.
Yes, I know kids coaches think that they survived the training and exercise in the sun, and these kids will too. Remember that the ozone is disappearing rapidly. This protective layer in the stratosphere was there several years ago to reflect and protect.
That layer is too thin to do the job it was designed to do. You may have to run interference between your kids’ team and their coach. It is important to protect their skin. Important to prevent skin cancer.
Sunburn And Your Zip Code
While I think that we have the most severe cases of heat-related conditions in the US, research has shown me differently. A great deal of the time heat and sun-related conditions result because we don’t know.
People who live in the northern parts of the US seem to pay little attention to protecting themselves from the sun. Even on the cloudiest days, 80% of the sun’s UV rays pass through the clouds. That is 80% of the rays that will cause the worst sunburn and age your skin the quickest.
Then there are the reflections off the snow. They are also at about the 80% level as well. Add this to the fact that the nice days don’t come around as often so people tend to overdo when they get a chance to get out. These factors all add up to deeper sunburns and heat-related illnesses like heat stroke.
North Or South
If you live in Utah, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, or Wyoming, your residents reported the most cases of sunburn in adults severe enough to require medical care. (reported by the CDC for white adults) The more northerly states report the most skin cancer as well. You must take better care of yourself.
Drs think that because it is cooler, maybe not so bright or hot, people who live in the north part of the US are just not as aware of the sun damage. Even if you think it is too late for your skin, be aware that skin cancer is worse than the dry lines that happen when the sun hits your skin too much. Share with your friends and family the need to use caution regardless of where you live.
Medical Service For Sunburn
Here are some medically guided and suggested guidelines for seeking medical care. If you have severe sunburn accompanied by:
- Headache Fainting
- High Fever
Visit the ER if these are your symptoms.
These symptoms could indicate more serious conditions, such as heat stroke or sun poisoning. Either can be extremely dangerous. In the worst case of severe sunburn, a patient could be admitted to the hospital burn unit.
Don’t Neglect Your Health
More often, even a severe sunburn can be treated at a doctor’s office or even a walk-in clinic.
If your sunburn is severe mainly because you have widespread blistering and puss excretion, most care facilities can address and treat your condition.
For moderate fever. Or pain management. As well as dehydration and other symptoms that aren’t life-threatening, you can be taken care of in a walk-in clinic.
To help you determine the type of medical service you need, think about the timeline of your burn.
If you begin to feel sick shortly after getting out of the sun, it’s more likely that the symptoms could become life-threatening. Get help quickly.
If your severe symptoms begin to develop after twelve hours, and your first aid is not helping, please visit a doctor’s office or urgent care.
Both sets of symptoms indicate the need for more care. The earlier first aid care should be enough to bring some relief. If not, please get help. These conditions can become severe.
Usual Suggestions From Doctors
- You will be usually instructed to consume plenty of fluids.
- Apply cool compresses
- Soak in cool water.
- You could be provided intravenous therapy (IV) if dehydration is still present.
- Creams or ointment
More severe sunburn conditions
- Are often treated with pain medication
- Oral steroids
- Antibiotics if the attending physician thinks it is needed.
How To Treat Sunburn General Advice
Please remember, these are guidelines. Add this to what you are seeing and feeling and experiencing with your sunburn. Caution to the excess is preferred to ignoring what your own gut feeling is relaying. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Be aware of what can happen with too much sun. While there may not be skin cancer today, or even tomorrow, it will happen, with repeated overexposures.
Sami’s Take On How To Treat Sunburn
When you are considering having fun in the sun with your family, it helps to be prepared.
Having some warning of what to expect is important as you are keeping your family safe. Know that the symptoms of sunburn are serious, and any reaction is serious.
Often a good night’s rest will be easier to get should you have someone in your family get too much sun. Knowing to help them be comfortable enough to sleep sounder will help.
Our body is a self-healing machine and can recover from minor incidents. However, some awareness on our part to protect and take care of this same healing machine will keep you and your family safe.
Sun blocking clothing will help you take better care of your skin, and reduce the dangers of too much sun. A sun hat and sunglasses, as well as a loose-fitting long sleeve sun blocking shirt, will help your sunscreen keep you safe, and avoid a sunburn.
Being prepared with a few basics will make the fun in the sun days safer for everyone. Remember to take breaks in the shade, and to drink enough water. Simple but effective ways to stay safe.
Remembering that the sun is harder on the younger and older family members will help keep things in perspective, and family members safe.
Changing a few lifestyle habits can make a big difference in keeping you safe from sunburn.
Stay safe, thank you,