Sunburn is a burn on the skin and a type of skin disorder. It results from overexposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun. The consequence of this burn is inflammation of the skin. Injury can start within 30 minutes of exposure.
Every person, whatever skin colour, at some stage in his life will become sunburned, but light-skinned people are more prone to it. Sunburn can also result from overexposure to “sun” tanning lamps and tanning beds.
Although seldom fatal, sunburn can be disabling and cause quite a bit of discomfort.
Medical treatment is must in such cases.
- Temporary disability
- Malignant skin cancer in many cases.
- Premature ageing and wrinkling of skin with appearance of age spots.
- Eye cataracts and in extreme cases blindness also.
- Death in many cases
Who all need to take special precaution against sunburn:
- Light-skinned people are at the highest risk of sunburn as compared to darker counterparts.
- Blue-eyed people or those with red or blond hair get sunburn easily.
- People under certain specific medications such as diuretics, tetracycline, birth control pills, tranquilizers, and anti-depressants.
- People with pigment disorders such as albinism, vitiligo because the lack of melanin in their skin makes them very susceptible to harmful UV rays.
- Certain people who inherit hypersensitivity to cancer causing effects of ultraviolet rays and are largely vulnerable to skin damage. So check out on family history.
- Individuals engaged in certain specific jobs like gardening, fishing, swimming etc. where there is prolonged exposure to sun rays.
Treatment of Sunburn:
Treatment starts at home.
- Cool the burn with a wet cloth or take a light shower with cool and not cold water.
- Do not scrub your skin and avoid any sort of soap, bath salt or oil.
- Use a sunburn remedy easily available in any drug store preferably one that contains aloe Vera. No petroleum jelly in the first 48 hrs, as it retains heat.
- If you are having blisters, bandage the area so as to avoid any sort of infection.
- In addition, drink plenty of water and other fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Relax and once at ease, seek medical help to further ease discomfort incase of a severe sunburn.
- If there is uncontrollable pain, blistering; and you are running high temperature with nausea, vomiting, immediately consult a doctor.
- You can expect to get relief in 4-7 days. There might be skin peeling accompanied by itching. Just bear it. Certain pain relieving medications like ibuprofen, aspirin might help.
Watch out for any skin infection while your blister is healing. Signs of infection include:
- Increased pain, swelling, redness, or warmth around the blister.
- Red streaks extending away from the blister.
- Drainage of pus from the blister.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit, or groin.
Get medical help immediately if –
- Sunburn has formed blisters and is extremely painful.
- Person shows signs of confusion.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Development of allergies.
- Headache, or a feeling of faintness.
- Signs of dehydration.
- Signs of skin infection.
- Facial swelling due to a sunburn.
Prevention from Sunburn:
- Avoid going out in the sun between 10 a. m. to 3 p. m. when UV rays are strongest. If at all necessary, go out with proper precautions.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Use a sunscreen with SPF of 15 or more while going out. If out for longer duration, apply sunscreen after every 3-4 hrs. Use waterproof sunscreen while swimming.
- Use ultraviolet protected sunglasses to save your eyes. You can also use a hat.
- Dress properly and protectively while going out. Wear full sleeves dresses, and cotton ones that promote proper ventilation.
- If under any sort of medication, be aware of its side effects because many types of medicines react badly to sun-exposure. Most likely to cause sun-sensitivity are antibiotics and acne medicines.
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