None of us ever intends on getting a sunburn, but sometimes we forget to reapply or miss an entire leg…if you find you or your child in this predicament, here are some helpful tips:
Five Ways to Treat a Sunburn
1. Act Quickly-I f you feel the tale-tell tingling of a burn or see any sign of skin reddening on yourself or your child, get out of the sun and start treatment.
2. Moisturize- After a cool shower or bath, slather on a moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Repeat frequently to make peeling and flaking less noticeable. And consider a product containing vitamin C and vitamin E: It might help limit skin damage. You may also use a hydrocortisone cream for a day or two to relieve discomfort. Don’t scrub, pick or peel your skin or any breaking blisters.
3. Hydrate- Any burn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. So drink extra water, juice and sports drinks for a couple of days and watch for signs of dehydration: Dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, headache, dizziness and sleepiness. Children are especially vulnerable, so check with a doctor if they appear ill.
4. Don't Wait to Medicate- Take (or give your child) a dose of ibuprofen (for example, Advil) as soon as you see signs of sunburn and keep it up for the next 48 hours. Because it’s an anti-inflammatory, it reduces some of the swelling and redness as well as discomfort.
5. Assess the Damage- Most sunburns, even those that cause a few blisters, can be treated at home. But if a blistering burn covers 20% or more of the body (a child's whole back), seek medical attention. Anyone with a sunburn who is suffering fevers and chills should also seek medical help. Finally: Consider the burn a warning that your sun-safety net has failed and vow to do better. That means using sunscreen, covering up with clothing and hats and avoiding the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Treating Sunburn in Children
Young skin heals faster than older skin, but it is also less able to protect itself from injury, including injury from the sun.
Babies under six months of age should never be exposed to the sun. Babies older than six months should be protected from the sun, and wear UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their eyes. However, if your child is sunburned:
- For a baby under one year old, sunburn should be treated as an emergency. Call your doctor immediately.
- For a child one year or older, call your doctor if there is severe pain, blistering, lethargy, or fever over 101 F.
- Sunburn can cause dehydration. Give your child water or juice to replace body fluids, especially if your child is not urinating regularly.
- Give acetaminophen if your child's temperature is above 101 F.
- Baths in clear, tepid water may cool the skin.
- Light moisturizing lotion may sooth the skin, but do not rub it in. If touching the skin is painful, don't use lotion.
- Dabbing on plain calamine lotion may help, but don't use one with an added antihistamine.
- Do not apply alcohol, which can over-cool the skin.
- Do not use any medicated cream - hydrocortisone, benzocaine - unless your baby's doctor tells you to.
- Keep your child out of the sun entirely until the sunburn heals.