Protect Yourself from Sunburn

Remember when sunburns were as much a part of summer as backyard barbecues and pool parties?

Today, we know that overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. Children are especially at risk.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life. Repeated sun exposure can also lead to wrinkled skin, liver spots and other forms of skin cancer.

Signs that you’ve overdone it in the sun include red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch, swelling, fluid-filled blisters, headache, fever and fatigue. Any part of your body, including your earlobes, scalp and lips, can burn. Sunburn usually appears within a few hours after sun exposure and may take several days or weeks to fade.

The key to preventing sunburn is to protect your skin whenever you're outdoors, even on cloudy days.

Always remember to:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. If you must be outside, seek shade whenever possible.
  • Cover up. Wear tightly woven clothing that covers your arms and legs, and a broad-brimmed hat.
  • Use sunscreen liberally. Apply sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher 30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply about every two hours, sooner if you’re sweating or in water.
  • Wear sunglasses when outdoors. Look for a manufacturer's label that says the sunglasses block 99 or 100 percent of all UV light.

    If you do get sunburn, non-prescription anti-inflammatory medications, cool compresses and aloe vera lotion can help reduce pain and speed healing. For more information, call 309.681.8850 or visit Essential Wellness Pharmacy.