By Unknown - June 24, 2017

Sunburn overview

Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin characterized by burning and redness, due to over exposure to the rays of the sun. It needs little discussion; but sometimes one forgets that the redness and burning do not develop until some time after the exposure and that sunlight reflected from a glass or water surface can burn as well as direct sunlight. A person cannot tell by feeling alone at the time whether or not he is overexposing his skin. Every exposure to the sun produces some damage to the skin, especially to fair-skinned individuals.
  Certain diseases that may be present, and a considerable number if drugs taken orally or applied to the skin, make the skin more sensitive to sunlight. Fair-skinned, blue-eyed people are more sensitive to it than dark-skinned. Severe burn over a large part of the skin surface is more dangerous than many people realize. It is well to remember that in extreme cases it can cause crippling or even death.
  In severe cases involving a large fraction of the skin surface, there is likely to be pain, swelling, blistering with later peeling, a gastrointestinal upset, and considerable fever for several days. A toxic condition develops, probably because of some decomposition of the deeper skin tissues damaged by the sun rays. If crippling develops later, it is likely to be the result of stiffening and contracture of damaged tendons. A still later possible effect is permanent hardening of the skin, or even skin cancer.

  Sunburn is a serious skin problem, but fortunately there are some remedies.

Compresses. Apply cold compresses to your skin or take a cool bath to soothe the burn.

Creams or gels. To take the sting out of your sunburn, gently rub on a cream or gel containing ingredients such as:

Refrigerating the cream first will make it feel even better on your sunburned skin.

Creams with vitamins C and E may help limit damage to skin cells.

Avoid soap or perfumes in the bath water as these can be drying on already dry and sunburned skin.

Hydrate: Drink lots of water, juice, or sports drinks. Your skin is dry and dehydrated. Replacing lost body fluids will help your skin heal from sunburn more quickly.

Over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, help to relieve pain from sunburn. DO NOT give aspirin to children.

If large areas of skin are involved, and if burning is severe, bed rest and the attention of a physician may be necessary.

 The following sunburn ointment is recommended for application before exposure to the sun's rays:

Zinc oxide
Rose water ointment

Research has shown that the best protection is achieved by application 15 to 30 minutes before exposure, followed by one reapplication 15 to 30 minutes after exposure begins. Further reapplication is only necessary after activities such as swimming, sweating, and rubbing.

 Even more protection is afforded by a heavy coat of standard zinc oxide ointment thickly dusted with talcum powder, but to apply this over large areas of skin is not convenient.

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