Sun Burn

Skin burned by exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light.

Cause

Amount of exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light source exceeds the ability of the body’s protective pigment, melanin, to protect the skin.

Signs

• Skin starts to become painful and red.
• The pain is worst between 6 and 48 hours after sun exposure. In severe sunburns,
blistering of the skin may occur.
• Swelling (Edema) of the skin, especially in the legs, is common.
• Skin peeling usually begins between three and eight days after exposure.
• May or may have no fever.
• Seek medical help if there is fever.

Treatment

• Take a cool shower or bath or place wet, cold wash rags on the burn. (Aspirin should be avoided in children who are running a fever). Avoid products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine or petroleum (like vaseline).
• If blisters are present, dry bandages may help prevent infection.
• Ibuprofen may help to alleviate the pain from sunburn.
• If the skin is not blistering, apply moisturizing cream to relieve discomfort.

Prevention

• Sunscreen, protective clothing, and ultraviolet-protected sunglasses are all recommended to prevent excessive sun exposure.

• SPF level of 30 or greater is recommended for sunscreen of application into exposed skin.

• Wear a hat and other protective clothing if exposed in the sun.