Wear Your Shades and SPF Sunscreen
Sunburn is defined as inflammation of the skin and eyes that follows overexposure to the sun. Your risk for sunburn increases at higher altitudes and/or if you have fair skin, blue eyes and red or blonde hair. The use of certain drugs including sulfa, tetracycline, amoxicillin or oral contraceptives can also increase your risk of getting sunburned.
Signs of Sunburn to the Skin: Red, swollen, painful and sometimes blistered skin. In severe cases, fever, nausea, vomiting and delirium are also signs.
Signs of Sunburn to the Eyes: Intense eye pain, burning, blurred vision and watering eyes.
- To reduce heat and pain, dip gauze or towels in cool water and lay these on the burned areas.
- Apply aloe vera gel to the affected areas for pain relief and added moisture.
- Soak in a tub of cool water mixed with colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno) or baking soda. Pat skin dry; do not rub.
- Use over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin or acetaminophen to relieve pain and reduce fever.
- Eye tissue heals quickly, and most of the pain and irritation should be decreased in 24 - 36 hours.
- You may use artificial tears to soothe and moisten your eyes if needed.
- Cool moist compresses (like a cool wet washcloth) help decrease swelling and pain.
- Avoid sun as much as possible while your eyes heal.
- Your doctor may prescribe pain medicine or instruct you to take over-the-counter pain medicine like
- Tylenol or ibuprofen.
For skin sunburns, call the doctor: If you have a temperature that rises to 101 degrees Fahrenheit, experience vomiting or diarrhea, severe blistering or pain and fever that persist longer than 48 hours.
For eye sunburns, call the doctor: If you have increased pain, changes or problems with your vision or eye pain that lasts longer than 24 - 36 hours.
Prevention for Skin and Eye Sunburns
- Use a sun block with protective values of SPF 30 or more while enjoying outdoor activities.
- Reapply sun block after swimming or prolonged exposure to the sun.
- Wear muted colors such as tan and avoid brilliant colors and whites, which reflect the sun into your face.
- Always wear sunglasses that provide good UV coverage when outdoors.