Treating Mild Sunburn
If sunburn is very severe and distressing, take the patient to a doctor who may prescribe a cream or medicine to give relief. See a doctor if the patient has a headache, nausea or a high temperature because he may be suffering from heat stroke as well as from sunburn.
If the sunburn is out of all proportion to the time the skin was exposed to the sun, the patient may be suffering from a condition called photosensitivity, which can be brought on by some medicines. A person who is taking medicine should see his doctor, who may prescribe a different one.
Treating mild sunburn
The symptoms of sunburn can range from skin that turns pink and feels rather hot to skin that becomes red, swollen, blistered and extremely painful.
Reasonably mild sunburn can be treated at home without seeing your doctor.
• Keep the skin cool with calamine lotion or cold compresses. Make the compress by soaking a towel or other cloth in cold water and squeezing out the excess. Or put ice cubes in a plastic bag, knot the opening of the bag and crush the ice with a hammer, brick or heavy saucepan. Wrap the bag in a towel or other cloth before putting it on the patient’s skin.
• Antihistamine creams are rarely worth using; they have little effect and may cause allergies.
• Leave blistered skin exposed to the air.
• Take aspirin or paracetamol to relieve the pain.
• Avoid clothes that rub the sore area.
• Do not allow further exposure to the sun until the symptoms have disappeared.
HOW TO AVOID SUNBURN
Sunburn is caused by the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Fair-skinned people, who have little pigment in the skin, burn more easily than people with dark skin.
• To prevent sunburn, avoid overexposure to the sun on the first day of a holiday, particularly if you are fair skinned. Expose the skin for only 30 minutes the first day, increasing by 30 minutes each day until you have developed a suntan which will give protection.
• Remember that light cloud does not stop the sun from burning.
• Use a suntan lotion or cream, and choose one which gives protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) as well as ultraviolet B (UVB). Put more on after swimming. Even if you do not swim they need to be renewed every two hours. Filter-type sun-screens may contain substances that cause skin reactions, so follow the instructions on the container.
• Remember you can be burnt even while feeling cool in the water.
• Do not expect artificial skin-tanning creams to give protection.
• Keep small children covered with a shirt for most of the time during the first days of a holiday. Increase their exposure gradually. And try to keep them out of the sun in the middle of the day. Give them lunch-perhaps followed by a rest – in the shade.