Sunburn should be avoided because it is damaging to the skin. Although the discomfort is usually minor and healing often occurs in about a week, a more severe sunburn may require medical attention.
Symptoms of sunburn are well known: skin becomes red, painful, and abnormally warm after sun exposure.
What to Do
Consult a doctor if the sunburn affects an infant under 1 year of age or if these symptoms are present:
- fluid-filled blisters
- severe pain
Also, remember these tips when treating sunburn:
- Avoid repeated sun exposure.
- Apply cold cloth compresses or immerse the sunburned area in cool water.
- Apply moisturizing lotion or cream to affected areas. Do not use salve, butter, or ointment.
- If blistering occurs, lightly apply a bandage to prevent infection.
- Do not break blisters.
- If the discomfort warrants, use a painkiller such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
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Last Editorial Review: 6/5/2007