What should you do for a sunburn?


Quick Answer

Treat a sunburn by getting out of the sun, taking a cool shower or bath, moisturizing the skin, hydrating with fluids and taking pain relieving medications, according to Skin Cancer Foundation. If blistering sunburn covers more than 20 percent of the body or causes fever and chills, seek medical treatment from health care professionals.

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Full Answer

SCF recommends covering the entire affected area with moisturizing cream or lotion. Repeated applications lessen the amount of skin peeling later. Products with vitamins C and E may help prevent further skin damage from sunburn already on the skin. Hydrocortisone creams may relieve surface discomfort for one to two days. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a lotion with aloe vera or soy and advises avoiding petroleum-based lotions.

Drink extra water, sports drinks and juice for a few days after the sunburn. Hydrating the body draws the sunburn toward the outer part of the skin and away from the body, according to the SCF.

Ibuprofen reduces redness and swelling in the skin. SCF explains taking ibuprofen products for 48 hours after a sunburn may also reduce risks of long-term damage. This medicine lessens the severity of sunburn symptoms.

Mayo Clinic lists five methods to prevent sunburn outdoors, such as avoiding sun exposure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., covering the skin with clothing, using sunscreen and wearing sunglasses. Use extra caution at higher altitudes, in snow and near water.

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