What should I do to treat my sunburn?
The sand, beaches, swimming pools, and sun sound wonderful, especially if you live in or are vacationing in Florida!

Unless you become a sunburn victim!

Sunburn is a painful reaction of the skin after being exposed to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) for a long period of time, most commonly from the sun. Even though most sunburns are not severe, overtime, repeated sunburns increases your risk of developing skin cancers, wrinkles, changes in skin pigmentations, and other cosmetic concerns. Occasionally, extreme cases of sunburn can cause blistering and dehydration called sun poisoning.

Unlike other types of skin burns that show up right away, a sunburn may take several hours after exposure to show up. Common symptoms of sunburn are reddened painful skin that is warm to the touch, increased sensitivity to skin pressure and heat, itching, and skin discomfort. In more severe cases of sunburns, people can have skin swelling, blistering, headache, confusion, blurred vision, malaise, nausea, fever, and chills. If you feel like you may have a severe case of sunburn you should seek emergency medical care and should call 911.

People at risk of sunburns are those who do not wear protective clothing, do not use sunscreen or have used it improperly, those younger than 6 months old, have fair skin, and people who take certain medications like NSAIDs (ibuprofen), diuretics (lasix, hydrochlorothiazide), antibiotics (Tetracyclines, Fluroquinolones), and antifungal medications (fluconazole).

A mild sunburn can usually be treated at home with moisturizers like shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and other emollients. Aloe is known to help heal burns faster. Sometimes, people may need to take medication to help with the pain and discomfort of a sunburn like NSAIDs (Ibuprofen, Aleve), and Tylenol. Cold compresses may also be used.

In more moderate or severe cases of sunburn (called sun poisoning), prescription medications may need to be prescribed to help with the burns, prevent or treat infection or control the pain. In severe cases people may need to be hospitalized, monitored, and receive IV fluids.

People should be watchful for secondary infections from sunburns which can be very serious. They are caused by the skin being damaged and bacteria that are normally on your skin taking advantage and infecting the burn wounds. They usually require either topical or oral antibiotics.

See our Physicians and P.A.s at Doctor’s Urgent Care for the highest quality medical evaluation and treatment.

We are familiar with sunburns and can help diagnose, ease your symptoms, and help manage complications that may arise.

David B. Dean, MD
Medical Director
Doctors Urgent Care