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As Prescribed Blog



As Prescribed Blog

Treating a sunburn for a pain free summer

Julia Dewey, MD Julia Dewey, MD June 20, 2012 0 Comments Family Medicine

Happy First Day of Summer!

So you lost track of time, forgot to reapply your sunscreen, fell asleep in a comfy deck chair at the Aquatic Center – that happens to the many of us every now and then. And a painful sunburn is the price we pay.

Years ago, sunburns were treated by rubbing butter onto the affected area. We now know that doesn’t do a thing but leave us greasy and miserable. Fortunately, there are good ways to soothe the burn.  If you are sunburned, I recommend the following:

  • Take an anti-inflammatory medicine as soon as possible to help keep down pain and swelling. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve) or aspirin will work. Ask your doctor for a recommendation specific to your needs and health requirements.
  • Take a tepid bath or a cool shower as soon as possible.
  • Apply cool washcloths to the burn. (Some recommend soaking a washcloth in chamomile tea or skim milk, chilling it, and applying to the burn.)
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take acetaminophen for headache and minor chills. Again, ask your doctor for a specific recommendation for your unique needs.
  • Try chilling a moisturizer in the refrigerator and applying it to your burn. Eucerin Calming Cream is one option.
  • Use numbing sprays such as Benzocaine with caution. Some dermatologists have reported patients developing allergic reactions to key ingredients in these products, and you don’t want to add an itchy rash to your burned skin. Pure aloe vera is a good alternative.

Children need to be especially careful of sun exposure. A few kid-friendly sun tips include: keeping them in the shade, wearing long sleeves and hats and using SPF 50 or greater. But be advised, children under six months of age or less should not wear sunscreen. Keeping them in the shade is truly your best option.

To schedule a well-child or other visit with pediatrician Julia Dewey, MD, visit Fort HealthCare Internal Medicine & Pediatrics.