Wellness Wednesday: “Doctor, I had too much fun at the beach!” SUNBURN

Wellness Wednesday: “Doctor, I had too much fun at the beach!” SUNBURN


Let’s face it we’ve all been there. Living in Hawaii we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and sometimes we spend a little too much time in the sun. Resulting in a hot, painful sunburn. Which makes getting out of the car (with leather seats) or the touch of a hand a painful encounter. Here’s some tips for the next time you forget to reapply the SPF. 

What is and causes a sunburn?
Sunburn is reddening of the skin when exposed to the sun or other ultraviolet light.  Risk factors for sunburn:

·         Being outdoors when sun rays are strongest during midday (10a-2p)
·         Infants/children and individuals with fair skin are more sensitive and at higher risk
·         Antibiotic use (ex. Doxycycline) can increase skin sensitivity

What are the symptoms of sunburn?
The first signs of sunburn can take a few hours to appear, sometimes not until 24 hours later.  Symptoms are usually temporary, but the skin damage is often permanent.  Symptoms include:
·         Red, painful skin (Pain usually worst 6-24 hrs after exposure)
·         Blisters (A sign of a more severe sunburn)
·         Peeling skin
·         Other more serious reactions such as fever, chills, nausea, and rash.  Symptoms of sunburn are usually temporary, but skin damage is often permanent.

How are sunburns treated?
Mild cases of sunburn:
·         Keep cool! (Cool compresses, bath or shower)
·         Avoid using products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine, or petroleum (eg, Vaseline). 
How to treat blisters:
·         Dry bandages to prevent infection
·         Moisturizing cream or aloe to relieve pain from blisters
·         Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (ex. Ibuprofen) can relieve pain from sunburns
·         Cortisone cream can reduce inflammation
·         Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. 
What are bad signs to look out for, for which I should contact a healthcare provider at Island Urgent Care immediately?
·         Fever
·         Dizziness, fast pulse, fast breathing
·         Severe thirst
·         Sunken eyes
·         Not urinating
·         Nausea and/or vomiting
·         Severe or diffuse painful blisters
·         Sign of infection (increased redness, pain, swelling, discharge)

How is sunburn prevented?

·         Wear your sunscreen (for children over 6 months of age)
·         Use protective clothing (sunglasses, hat, long sleeves)
·         Avoid the midday rays!

Docs at IUC

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