What to do about Sunburns

Sunburns are caused by overexposure to the sun – particularly ultraviolet radiation. UVA and UVB are the two types of radiation – but UVA is more damaging. Sunburn can happen at the beach, on the sports field or even on the ski slope. Sunburns can also happen when it’s cloudy out.  Sunburns typically result in  a superficial burn which affects the outermost layer of skin. More serious sunburns can affect deeper layers of the skin resulting in blistering. Both first and second degree burns are very painful. More severe sunburns can result in sun poisoning with fever, nausea, vomiting and dehydration. If you suspect sun poisoning, you should contact your provider or go to the nearest emergency department.

Managing sunburns at home

  1. Use anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen.
  2. Cool baths, showers, wet compresses. Avoid anything scented or irritating to the skin.
  3. Moisturize peeling areas.
  4. Aloe containing products for skin
  5. Blisters can be treated with an antibacterial ointment like bacitracin.
  6. Make sure your child stays hydrated.
  7. Vitamin E ointment on the burned areas once or twice a day.


  1. Wear a mineral based sunscreen like titanium oxide or zinc oxide.
  2. Reapply frequently (every 90 minutes to 2 hours)
  3. Infants should be kept out of direct sunlight.
  4. Make sure your child wears sunglasses.
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