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Busting sunburn treatment myths

With everyone spending more time in the sun this time of year, most of us have probably heard that we should wear at least one ounce of broad spectrum sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher any time we’re outdoors. But we all get the occasional sunburn.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that at least half of young adults get a sunburn each year. So, what should you do when you do get a sunburn?

There are lots of myths about treating sunburn – like taking a hot shower or using a cold milk compress to soothe skin. However, a hot shower could actually worsen your existing first-degree burn. Further, there is no medical evidence to back up the milk remedy. In fact, a cold ice pack works just as well.

Here are some helpful at-home remedies that will actually help.

·         Take a pain reliever like aspirin, ibuprofen or Aleve, as soon as possible to reduce inflammation and pain.

·         Drink lots of water. The sun dehydrates your entire body – including your skin.

·         Take a cold shower to soothe your skin and remove any chlorine or salt residue.

·         Use lotion with aloe vera. Moisturizers with hydrocortisone cream may ease discomfort.

·         Avoid cream with “caine” in the title, like benzocaine, which could irritate the skin further.

You should see your doctor if your sunburn is accompanied by blisters covering a large portion of your body, high fever or signs of infection like swelling or red streaks from the blisters.

Want quick medical care but not the emergency room wait? Check out Adventist HealthCare Urgent Care, with three locations in Rockville, Germantown and Laurel. Online appointments and walk-ins accepted.


Find more family friendly health tips from Nurse Rose any time: AdventistHealthCare.com/NurseRose.

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