Preventing and Treating Sunburns

Preventing and Treating Sunburns

By Tamara Grabeal, APRN-CNP of Xpress Wellness Urgent Care

Sunburns are a common summertime complaint in urgent care. Some reports indicate as many as 34% of adults and 70% of children and adolescents experience a sunburn during the course of the year. Most sunburns are not severe, however a lifetime of sun exposure and/or frequent sunburns significantly increases the risk of cancer, wrinkles, cataracts and other cosmetic concerns.

Certain groups are more at risk for sunburns. People with fair skin and light-colored hair are at an increased risk due to decreased amount of melanin in their skin. Some people can burn after less than 15 minutes in the sun. Those living closer to the equator and in high altitudes are also more at risk for sunburn. Even the medications you take can affect your risk. Nonsteroidal medications such as ibuprofen and Aleve, certain antibiotics, and diuretics (water pills) make it more likely to burn.

Treatment for sunburns consists of relieving skin discomfort. You should stay out of the sun until the redness and pain resolve. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help relieve the pain. For mild burns, there are a number of products aimed at decreasing pain such as aloe-based lotions, cool compresses, and lotions or sprays with a local anesthetic such as Dermaplast or Solarcaine. It is important to know that these products do not reduce the long-term risks of sunburn.

Severe sunburns should be evaluated by a healthcare provider. You should seek help if you experience skin blistering, fever, headache, confusion, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision or fainting as these symptoms can indicate heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

The best way to prevent sunburn is to avoid extended sun exposure during the middle of the day (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), seek shade when possible, and wear sun screen. You should apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside, and an SPF of 30 or greater is recommended. Make sure that your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Sunscreen should be reapplied after sweating, swimming, or drying off with a towel. It should also be reapplied every two to three hours.

About Xpress Wellness Urgent Care

Xpress Wellness Urgent Care treats non-life threatening illnesses and injuries on a walk-in basis (no appointment needed) for adults and children including common illnesses, sprains, strains, lacerations, flu, allergies, infections, sports physicals, and more.

Xpress Wellness Urgent Care is open 7 days a week with extended evening hours and weekend services. Xpress Wellness Urgent Care offers patients the convenience of selecting a visit time that best fits their schedule through Xpress Check-in.

Xpress Wellness Urgent Care is a privately-held company based in Enid, Oklahoma. The company is led by Dr. Scott Williams, Chief Medical Officer, and Brian Hayden, President. Xpress Wellness has eight locations in Oklahoma—Elk City , Enid, Lawton, Muskogee, Sapulpa, Shawnee, Weatherford, and Woodward. Xpress will open clinics in Andover, Kansas, and Chickasha, Oklahoma, summer 2016.

View a complete list of services.

This is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. Everyone’s medical needs vary based on various factors. If you need medical advice or treatment, visit the nearest Xpress Wellness Urgent Care or your primary care provider for evaluation. If you believe your condition is life threatening, call 911.