Sunburn – Tips for Easing the Pain
Sunburn is no fun, but unfortunately it can happen to us all. Read on for some simple but effective tips to help ease the pain, swelling and discomfort of your sunburn.
So, you snoozed under the clear, blue sky or just forgot to keep slathering on the sunscreen while you were walking around outdoors. And now, you’re burned. Really fried, in fact.
You have the telltale signs of a sunburn: pink or red skin that is warm, painful and tender to the touch. In severe cases you may experience blistering, itching, fever, chills and/or nausea. These symptoms may occur in a few hours or may take a day or longer to appear. Blame it on the sun’s super-strong—and damaging—ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Types of Burns
Most sunburns are considered first or second-degree burns.
First-degree sunburns are pink in color and typically don’t blister, while second-degree burns usually range from pink to bright red and may blister.
Most of the time, you can treat sunburns—even the painful ones—at home. This includes first-degree and minor second-degree sunburns.
Ease the Pain
Here are some hot tips for soothing sunburn:
- Temporarily relieve pain and reduce swelling, by taking a cool bath or shower. You can also apply cool, wet compresses to the sunburned area as often as needed. However, never use ice on a burn. Soothe the pain and itching with over-the-counter (OTC) products that contain either dyclonine or pramoxine.
- Take an OTC pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen, to help relieve painful sunburn.
- Try an OTC hydrocortisone cream to decrease pain and swelling and relieve the itching that occurs when your skin is healing. (Note: Do not apply hydrocortisone to large areas of the body or for a prolonged period of time without the recommendation of a physician.)
Moisturize Dry Skin
If skin is not blistering, a moisturizing cream or aloe vera lotion may help relieve some of the discomfort. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and stay out of the sun until your sunburn is healed.
Call your doctor if your sunburn is blistering and covers a large portion of your body, worsens, or does not improve within a few days. Also, see your doctor if your symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, rash, you are feeling faint or dizzy, or you have signs of an infection.
Ask your Rite Aid Pharmacist to help select the appropriate products to ease the pain of your sunburn and remember to purchase sunscreen for your next trip outdoors.
"First Aid: Burns,” American Academy of Dermatology.
“Play it Safe in the Sun.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/pdf/CYCParentsBrochure.pdf.
“Sunburn,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2014/chapter-2-the-pre-travel-consultation/sunburn.
“Sunscreen FAQs,” American Academy of Dermatologists. www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens
“Treating and Preventing Burns.” American Academy of Pediatrics. www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/injuries-emergencies/Pages/Treating-and-Preventing-Burns.aspx.
“Treating Sunburn.” American Academy of Dermatology, www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/for-kids/about-skin/skin-cancer/treating-sunburn.
“What Is Skin Cancer?” American Academy of Dermatology. www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/for-kids/about-skin/skin-cancer/what-is-skin-cancer.