Sunburn is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. You can see sunlight and feel heat, but you can’t see or feel UV radiation, which is why sunburn can sneak up on us so quickly.
Sunburn can vary from mild to severe. The extent depends on your skin type and amount of exposure to the sun. The long-term effects of repeated bouts of sunburn include premature wrinkling and increased risk of skin cancer. Once skin damage occurs, it is impossible to reverse it. This is why prevention is better than cure.
IMPORTANT – Mild sunburn can be treated at home, but severe and blistered burns need prompt medical attention. Seek medical advice if:
- You have severe sunburn with extensive blistering and pain;
- Your sunburn looks infected i.e. swelling, pus and increased redness can be seen around the wound;
- Your sunburn is covering a large area of your body;
- You also experience any of the following symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Fever, or
- Dizziness or altered states of consciousness.
There’s no miracle cure for sunburn…..but there are ways to manage the symptoms while your body heals. Listed below are some self-help remedies and first aid hints for minor sunburn.
- Try to get out of the sun as soon as you can. Additional UV radiation and heat can make your sunburn worse.
- Inspect your sunburn and look for any blisters. If blistering appears on a large area of your body, it is best that you seek medical advice. Ensure to leave blisters intact – do not pop them – however tempting this might be! You can cover blisters with a wound dressing to avoid the risk of infection.
- Cool down the affected area. A cool bath or shower can help soothe the pain. Ensure that the water is tepid, at room temperature and not too cold.
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Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.