Does Your Sunburn Require Medical Treatment?

By Eric M. Folkens, M.D., Family Medicine,
Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch/Sarasota Urgent Care Walk-In Clinics

Does Your Sunburn Require Medical TreatmentDuring the summer months, you spend a lot of time outside in the Florida sun. Unfortunately, with longer and warmer day, you are more susceptible to sunburns if we are not careful. A sunburn sets in after your skin has been damaged by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

What increases your risk of sunburn?
Prolonged exposure: It is simple, the longer your skin is exposed to UV rays, the higher your risk for sunburn.

Skin tone: Very light or pale skin increases your risk of sunburn.

Time of day: Between the hours of 10 AM and 3PM, the sun is hotter and emits more UV radiation.

Unprotected skin: You are already well aware that your risk for sunburn increases tremendously if you do not protect your skin with proper sunscreen or clothing.

Medicines: Certain medicines may make you more sensitive to sunlight. Talk to your caregiver to learn more about what medicines may increase your risk of sunburn.

Signs of Overexposure to UV Rays
Signs and symptoms may appear while you are still enjoying the sun, or they make appear a few hours after your exposure. Symptoms may become worse as long as 12 to 24 hours later. If you have been exposed to too much UV rays, you may have red skin, pain or a burning feeling, swelling and tightness of the skin, blisters, itchy skin, and ultimately peeling of the skin. You may also become dehydrated as a result of your sunburn.

In most cases, sunburn can be treated at home with a cool compress, over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), aloe gel or lotion, and drinking plenty of water.

Consult medical treatment for sunburn if:
• The sunburn is severe — with blisters — and covers a large portion of your body

• The sunburn is accompanied by a high fever or severe pain

• You’ve developed a skin infection from scratching your sunburned skin

• You have a severe sunburn that doesn’t begin to improve within a few days

A doctor might suggest a corticosteroid cream for your sunburn, or a short course of prednisone for severe cases involving large areas of your body. Rarely, people who have severe sunburn may need intravenous fluids to combat dehydration.

If you inadvertently spend too much time in the sun without proper protection and find yourself suffering from sunburn, visit one of the community urgent care centers for prompt and affordable treatment.

Sarasota Urgent Care
6272 Lake Osprey Dr., Sarasota, Fl 34240
(941) 907-2800  |

Lakewood Ranch Urgent Care
9908 S.R. 64 East, Bradenton, Fl 34212
(941) 747-8600  |

Bradenton Urgent Care
4647 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, Fl 34209
(941) 745-5999  |

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