Sunburns: Protect Yourself

You may not immediately see the effects of over exposure to the sun. It may take up to 24 hours before the full damage is visible. Therefore, it is very important to protect yourself from the sun whenever you will be out in it.

Those who do not protect themselves may experience first or second degree burns.

First degree sunburns cause redness and will heal, possibly with some peeling, within a few days. These types of burns are best treated with cool baths and moisturizers or over-the-counter products. Taking aspirin orally may lessen the early development of sunburn. Remember, never give an infant or child aspirin unless directed to do so by a physician.

Second degree sunburns blister and can be considered a medical emergency if a large area is affected. When a burn is severe and accompanied by a headache, fever, or chills, seek medical attention immediately.

People who are fair-skinned, or those that are just not used to being out in the sun, need a sunblock of at least 15. Apply the sunblock 15-30 minutes prior to sun exposure, if possible, to allow sufficient time for a protective film to develop.

Apply sunscreen liberally. As much as 1 ounce may be needed to cover skin thoroughly. Pay attention to the back of the neck, ears, and areas of scalp with thin hair. These areas are extremely sensitive and burn easily. Reapply sunblock every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating. Remember, the sun’s rays are most intense between 10 am and 2 pm.

Tips for Protecting Baby

It is very important to keep infants, one year of age and younger, out of direct sunlight and in the shade. Use an umbrella over the stroller whenever possible. Always dress baby in lightweight, light-colored clothing. Cover baby’s head with a hat that has a wide brim. Only ever use a low level sunblock (no higher than SPF 4). This is because an infant’s skin is sensitive and may not be able to “flush out” chemicals absorbed through the skin.

Things To Remember

  • Use sunblock ANYTIME you’re in the sun.
  • Sunblock should have a SPF of 15 or higher for adults, 4 or lower for infants.
  • Sunblock should be “broad spectrum”, meaning it blocks UVA and UVB rays.
  • Apply 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Apply sunblock even on cloudy days.
  • Never rely on old or out-dated sunblock to protect you. Always purchase a fresh bottle of sunblock before each “fun-in-the-sun” season begins.