6 tips to soothe an agonizing sunburn

A fun day in the sun can result in a painful burn if you don't protect your skin. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Phillips)

A fun day in the sun can result in a painful burn if you don't protect your skin. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Phillips)

Sunburns are nearly synonymous with summertime. To prevent them, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays or avoid exposure to the sun's rays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

However, hiding from the sunshine isn't always a possibility, so keep your cool by following these steps if you or a loved one turns scarlet:

1. Make sure it's not something more serious

Check for signs of dehydration such as confusion, little or no urine output, or extreme dryness of the mouth.

If any of these symptoms are apparent, seek emergency care immediately. Call a doctor if there's a fever of 102 degrees or higher, severe pain, or if large blisters have formed on the skin.

2. Keep your cool

Cool the affected area by applying clean towels that have been dipped in cool water, or by taking a cool bath.

3. Get some relief

Reduce pain, fever or chills with aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

4. Rub it in

If the pain and discomfort continues, apply an over-the-counter topical steroid cream, which will numb the pain. You can also speed up healing by applying aloe or a soothing lotion.

5. Stay hydrated

Keep your body hydrated and drink plenty of fluids.

6. Prevent further injury

If going out into the sun again, generously apply sunscreen to the affected area to avoid exacerbating the burn.

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I am a 50 year expert in horrible sunburns. Best advice received from medicals and friends: Make a cup of STRONG TEA; let cool; dab over entire area w/ cotton balls as often as you wish. Take ibu, aspirin, etc. to reduce tissue swelling.

This article is about heat exhaustion and reducing body temperature - not sunburn.

Always follow good advice.

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