Tips for treating sunburn

Fun in the sun can soon be banished when we then have to start treating sunburn

If you are unfortunate to suffer from sunburn this summer, Consultant Dermatologist Dr Sajjad Rajpar, who is a member of the Midlands Skin Institute based at BMI Priory Hospital in Birmingham, has the following advice:

1. Stay out of the sun. Avoid further sun exposure until the skin has fully healed – this can take between 5 days to 2 weeks. Stay in the shade and cover up with long sleeved clothing and a hat. Apply sun block judiciously as it may cause irritation.

2. Treat pain with paracetamol or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Cold compresses and a shower in cool or tepid water can also help alleviate discomfort from the skin.

3. Apply an unscented moisturiser such as E45 cream or Eucerin Lotion two or three times a day. Steroid creams are ineffective. Continue applying the moisturiser as the skin peels and eventually recovers.

4. Drink plenty of water.

5. If blisters develop, let them resolve naturally where possible. However, if they are tense or causing pain, then they can be pricked and drained using a clean needle that is sterilised in the steam of a kettle.

6. Seek medical help if there is a lot of blistering, dizziness, palpitations, confusion and drowsiness.  Heat stroke can accompany sunburn and can be life threatening.

7. Be sure to take appropriate precautions to prevent sunburn in the future.

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