Sunburn is the rash or reddish tan on the skin caused by overexposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun. The extent of sunburn on the skin depends on the exposure to the sun. It may be mild with a light tan to a severe with a reddish scar-like painful patch on the skin. In severe cases, it also causes painful blisters on the skin.
Symptoms of Sunburn:
The symptoms of sunburn vary depending on the exposure and the person. Some people just notice redness on the skin while others with sensitive skin experience painful blisters. The minor sunburn causes light brownish tan on the skin with tenderness in the area. In severe cases, the person may experience chills, nausea, weakness and even fainting from heatstroke.
Treating the sunburn
It should be treated immediately to avoid leaving rashes and scars on the skin. As severe sunburn can leave permanent skin damage and also lead to skin cancer, it is necessary to treat it as soon as possible. Some of the best ways to treat it include:
· Over the Counter pain relief: Medications like ibuprofen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can work a long way to relieve the pain on the skin. It can also reduce swelling of the skin and should be taken immediately. There are also topical ointments especially for sunburn which provides relief in an instant.
· Hydrocortisone cream: This cream effectively reduces swelling and itching of the sunburned skin.
· Rehydrate: It is necessary to continuously drink water when out in the sun.
· Blister break: One should never break blisters. It worsens the area making it sore. Blisters should be washed with mild soap and water and let it heal itself.
· Moisturiser: For peeling and redness in the skin, moisturizer is an effective solution.
· Skin coolers: Applying damp cloth or towel proves effective to cool the inflamed skin.
· Oral steroid therapy: Medications like cortisone works best in severe cases of sunburn.
· Steroids: For the blisters, steroids are prevented to increase the risk of infection on the body. If the patient is seen as dehydrated, IV (intravenous) fluids work best.
· Avoid the sun: Most importantly, avoiding the sun and its UV rays are the best option.
Diagnosing the Sunburn:
Mild and tan sunburn usually doesn’t require visiting a doctor. A doctor should be consulted only in cases of severe sunburn and extreme cases of heatstroke. In severe sunburns, the doctor checks the medical history and conduct tests to evaluate the symptoms and prescribe the correct medicine for the sunburn. The person may also be referred to a dermatologist in cases of high skin damage.
How to prevent sunburn:
The best and most effective way of avoiding this is to reduce the amount of time the skin is exposed to direct sunlight. One should always:
· sit in locations having shade if out in the sun
· wear a wide-brimmed hat to avoid the sun
· wear sunglasses regularly to protect the eyes
· avoid moving out during the hottest part of the day
· apply a good sunblock throughout the day
There are many sunblock essentials that help in reducing sunburn and suntan. Sunblocks are creams and lotions which block the UV light. These creams have sunburn protection factor (SPF) rating, which determines the ability of the sunblock creams to suppress the sunburn. Higher is the SPF rating, the lower is the amount of direct skin damage. Modern sunscreen lotions and creams have filters for UVA as well as UVB radiation. Though the UVA radiation doesn’t hamper with sunburn, it does add to skin aging and increases the chances of skin cancer. It is essential to avoid the sun and take better preventive measures to avoid sun tanning and sunburn. So, next time before you step out in the sun, do a quick run to the sunblock once!