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What’s the best way to treat a sunburn?

Posted by Jody on July 24, 2012

Sun protection at the beach

What’s the best way to treat a sunburn?

Good question!  Lucky for us, Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic, has great answers. Here are his tips from the clinic’s online article: “Sunburn treatment: What works?” Be sure to check out the entire piece for more information, including when to consult a doctor for sunburn care.

  • Keep it cool. Apply cold compresses — such as a towel dampened with cool water — to the affected skin. Or take a cool bath.
  • Keep it moist. Apply aloe or moisturizing cream to the affected skin. Avoid products containing alcohol, which can further dry out skin. Beware of sunburn treatment products containing anesthetics, such as benzocaine. There’s little evidence that these products are effective. In some cases, they may even irritate the skin. Benzocaine has been linked to a rare but serious, sometimes deadly, condition that decreases the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry. Don’t use benzocaine in children younger than age 2 without supervision from a health care professional, as this age group has been the most affected. If you’re an adult, never use more than the recommended dose of benzocaine and consider talking with your doctor.
  • Leave blisters intact. If blisters form, don’t break them. You’ll only slow the healing process and increase the risk of infection. If needed, lightly cover blisters with gauze.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. If needed, take anti-inflammatory medication — such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) — according to the label instructions until redness and soreness subside. Don’t give children or teenagers aspirin. It may cause Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially fatal disease.
  • Treat peeling skin gently.Within a few days, the affected area may begin to peel. This is simply your body’s way of getting rid of the top layer of damaged skin. While your skin is peeling, continue to use moisturizing cream.

    Serious Sun Protection!

It’s so much easier (and less stressful) to prevent a sunburn than to have to treat one, whether the doctoring is for you or a loved one.

Web MD suggests the following easy steps to prevent sunburn:

  • Protect your skin from the sun.
  • Do not stay in the sun too long.
  • Use sunscreens, and wear clothing that covers your skin.

If you have any health risks that may increase the seriousness of sun exposure, you should avoid being in the sun from 10 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon.

Check out both of these sites for more helpful information.  They are packed with very helpful advice for sunburn treatmentMayo Clinic: Sunburn, & Web MD: Sunburn – Topic Overview

Do you remember the days when the first sunburn of the season was a summer rite of passage? What was your home remedy for sunburn when you were a kid? Do you follow the current advice for sunburn prevention? Are those the two cutest kids ever?

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2 Responses to “What’s the best way to treat a sunburn?”

  1. Always use a sunscreen minimum SPF 30. http://spfsunscreens.wordpress.com/

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