Sunburn is one of the downsides of too much fun in the sun. Sunburn is caused by overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It may seem like just a temporary irritation, but sunburns can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. Children are especially at risk: One blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person's chances of developing melanoma later in life. The best advice -- don’t get burned.
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, follow these tips:
- 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 (38.3 C).
- 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 soothe the skin, but do not rub it in. If touching the skin is painful, don't use lotion.
- Do not apply alcohol, which can overcool the skin.
- Do not use any medicated cream - hydrocortisone, benzocaine - unless your baby's doctor tells you to.
Adults and children should always wear sunscreen. If you are an adult and get a sunburn, here are tips to follow for treatment:
- Act quickly, if 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.
- Moisturize your body after a cool shower or bath. A cream or lotion will help soothe the skin.
- Hydrate with fluids. Any burn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body so drink extra water, juice, etc. for a couple of days.
- Don’t wait to medicate. Take a dose of ibuprofen as soon as you see signs of sunburn and keep it up for the next 48 hours.
Reef Family Pharmacy is a full-service pharmacy located at 804 Route 9 South in Cape May Court House. Free prescription delivery is offered locally and Reef also offers easy transfer of prescriptions if you are on vacation and online ordering of prescriptions. For more information, call (609) 465-0004, visit www.ReefFamilyPharmacy.com, or visit them on Facebook.