With the current heat wave, many will be looking for help to soothe sunburns.
According to Alberta Health Services, a sunburn is an injury to the skin caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Typical sunburns cause mild pain and redness and only affect the outer layer of skin – these are first degree burns.
Red skin can be painful to the touch. These mild sunburns can usually be treated with home remedies.
However, if the skin is red, sore, swollen, and blistered, it may mean that deeper layers of skin and nerve endings have been damaged. This type of sunburn is a second degree burn and will take longer to heal than first degree burns.
To cure sunburn, in a press release, AHS suggested placing a cool cloth over the burned areas or taking frequent cool showers and/or baths. Soothing lotions, such as aloe vera, can help relieve pain from the burn, but should not be applied to blistered skin. The lotion can also help relieve itching when sunburned skin begins to peel. Skin peeling is part of the healing process and is natural – there is nothing you can do to prevent the peeling.
If the sunburn causes a mild fever and headache, AHS recommends lying down in a cool, quiet space to reduce the headache. A headache can be caused by a lack of fluids, so it is essential to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after spending time in the sun.
Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, will reduce pain, swelling, and fever. These medications can be taken according to the instructions on the label.
To protect yourself from the sun, use sunscreen, wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses and loose, tightly woven clothing that will cover the arms and legs and provide UV protection, according to the press release. of the AHS.
Small blisters caused by second-degree sunburn usually heal on their own and should not be broken open. People with blisters should leave them alone and make sure the blisters are not covered.
If a blister is covered, a loose bandage should be applied, using tape to hold the bandage to the skin, but making sure the tape does not touch the blister. The dressing is placed to protect clothing from rubbing against the blister.
AHS recommends avoiding wearing clothes or shoes that may rub or irritate the blister, and any activity that may do the same.
A large blister is the size of a nickel or larger and usually heals without a problem. Unless advised against by a doctor, a large blister can be drained.
To do this, AHS advised cleaning a needle with rubbing alcohol or soap and water and gently puncturing the edge of the blister. Press the liquid in the blister towards the puncture hole. Then AHS said to wash the blister and dry it with sterile gauze. Do not remove the skin covering the blister unless it is torn, dirty, or there is pus forming under the skin flap. The flap will help protect the healing skin underneath.
AHS recommended dressing the blister, with petroleum jelly on the dressing to ensure the liner won’t stick to the healing blister. The organization also recommends not using alcohol or iodine on the blister, as this may slow the healing process.
The bandage covering the blister should be changed daily and when it gets wet or dirty, AHS said. To make it easier to remove the dressing, consider soaking it in cold water.
For more help, see a doctor or call 811.
Seek immediate medical attention if a sunburned person has sunken eyes, dry mouth, scanty urine, shows signs of dehydration, fever, increased pain, swelling, warmth, and redness from sunburn . Also, if there are any red streaks from the burn or draining pus.