Sunburns Diagnosis and Treatment

Sunburn results from too much sun or sun-equivalent exposure. Exposure of the skin to lesser amounts of UV will often produce a suntan. Sunburns destroy skin, which controls the amount of heat our bodies retain or release, holds in fluids, and protects us from infection. Usual mild symptoms in humans and animals are red or reddish skin that is hot to the touch, general fatigue, and mild dizziness. Sunburn can be life-threatening and is a leading cause of skin cancer. Radiation risk has increased greatly over the last twenty years. Certain light-skinned and fair-haired people are at greater risk of sunburn injury. Concentrations of this pigment vary greatly among individuals, but in general, darker-skinned people have more melanin than those with lighter skin.

UV radiation reflects off of snow, sand, water, cement, and even grass, increasing the potential for damage. People often feel safer on a bright cloudy day, but significant sun damage can still occur. Mild and uncomplicated cases of sunburn usually result in minor skin redness and irritation. Other symptoms are edema, itching, red and/or peeling skin, rash, nausea and fever. Most exposure is limited to sun-exposed areas of the body; however, significant transmission of UVR may occur through some clothing, resulting in sunburn on clothed skin. The risk of sunburn increases with proximity to the tropic latitudes which are located between 23.5° north and south latitude. Mild sunburn usually lasts 3-5 days. Moderate or severe sunburn usually lasts at least several days longer.

Fair-skinned individuals are the most prone to sun damage, as are people taking medications that contraindicate sun exposure. Using sunscreen will help prevent burns. Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are useful, especially when started early. Minimization of sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is also recommended. Cool (not ice cold) baths may help. Avoid bath salts, oils, and perfumes because these may produce sensitivity reactions. Avoid scrubbing the skin or shaving the skin. Use soft towels to gently dry yourself. Don’t rub. Use a light, fragrance-free skin moisturizer. Vinegar is a remedy for the stinging sensation on a burn. Drinking fluids can aid in hydration, and eating high protein foods will assist tissue repair.

Sunburns Treatment and Prevntion Tips

1. Apply aloe or another cooling agent.

2. Take a cool shower or bath to soothe the pain.

3. Use soft towels to gently dry yourself.

4. Vinegar is a remedy for the stinging sensation on a burn.

5. Sunscreen, loose clothing, and hats help protect children’s sensitive skin.

6. Anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen, can reduce redness and pain.

7. Drinking fluids can aid in hydration, and eating high protein foods will assist tissue repair.

8. Try to avoid the sun’s most intense rays by staying out of the sun during the middle of the day.