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Summer Safety Tip: Avoiding Sunburn

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(file photo credit MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)

(file photo credit MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)

CBS Boston (con't)

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Anyone who’s spent a long day out in the summer sun is more than likely familiar with sunburn.

How Do I Get It?

Sunburn is literally a burn to the skin caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays and anyone can get it from being out in the sun.

How Do I Know It’s Sunburn?

Sunburn is recognized by red or reddish skin in areas that have recently been exposed to the sun. The skin is hot to the touch and often painful. Other symptoms include peeling skin or blisters where the burn was most severe. Individuals with fair or light-colored skin are at a greater risk of sunburn injury.

Prevention:

If you’re going to be out in the sun, the best way to protect yourself is to apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before heading outside.

For the most complete protection, apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher that has both UVA and UVB protection to shield your skin from both the sun’s burning rays (UVB rays) and it’s aging rays (UVA rays) that are connected to melanoma skin cancers. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock and Coppertone UltraGuard Sunscreen Lotion are good ones to try. Both offer broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection. If you plan to be active or go in the pool, make sure you use a sweatproof/waterproof sunscreen, like Banana Boat Sport Performance Active MAX Protect.

For best application, use about a tablespoon of sunscreen to cover your entire face and ears, and use about a shot glass full to cover each of the other exposed parts of your body. Reapply every three hours.

Treatment

  • Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin are helpful in reducing pain, especially when taken early on.
  • Aloe vera gel helps to cool and calm the skin as well as reduce pain and promote healing. The gel forms a protective layer on the skin that seals in valuable moisture, preventing dehydration and promoting faster healing.
  • For mild sunburn, cool compresses with equal parts milk and water calm the skin. Apply to the sunburned area for 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Avoid scrubbing or shaving the skin.
  • Of course, stay out of the sun while you’re sunburned.

For severe burns, see your doctor.

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