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Sunburn - Symptoms and Treatment

Sunburn results from too much sun or sun-equivalent exposure. Sunburn is an acute cutaneous inflammatory reaction that follows excessive exposure of the skin to ultraviolet radiation. It reduces the stretchiness of the skin and can cause premature aging and wrinkling of the skin, as well as the formation of age spots. Many people also think that a suntan makes a person look young and healthy. Sunburn is from over-exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. The red skin might hurt when you touch it. Signs and symptoms of sunburn usually appear within a few hours of exposure, bringing pain, redness, swelling and occasional blistering. Sunburn is an inflammation of the skin that is caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Without protection, UV radiation will immediately start to penetrate deep into the layers of your skin, damaging the skin's cells. Sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes and can take a few days or weeks to heal depending on the severity. The long term effects of repeated bouts of sunburn include premature wrinkling and increased risk of skin cancer. Remember to ‘slip-slop-slap' whenever you go out in the sun slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat. Sunburn is simply a burn or erythema (reddening) and oedema (swelling) on your skin from excessive exposure to the sun's rays, more specifically the ultraviolet (UV) radiation that is emitted from the sun.

A sunburn occurs when skin is burned by exposure to the sun or other ultraviolet light. Sunburn is a condition that takes place when the skin gets overexposed to the harmful ultraviolet rays. Sunburn may also occur from exposure to other UV light sources such as solaria or tanning salons. The major source of UV rays is the sun. Other sources include welding arcs and tanning lamps. The less melanin you have, the less protected you are against the effects of UV light. If the exposure of the skin to the rays exceeds the ability of the melanin protection, sunburn will occur. Sun's radiation include ultraviolet rays along with other rays. The sun's rays make us feel good and in the short term, make us look good. Exposure to sun causes most of the wrinkles, age spots on our faces and remaining in sun for a long time also causes sunburn. Sunburn never causes a third-degree burn or scarring. Most sunburn is a first-degree burn that turns the skin pink or red. Anyone who visits a beach, goes fishing, works in the yard, or simply is out in the sun can get sunburn. Exposure to solar radiation has the beneficial effects of stimulating the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D and providing radiant warmth. Skin that is red and painful and that swells up and blisters may mean deep skin layers and nerve endings have been damaged. Sunburn is the skin's reaction to the ultraviolet radiation (UV) in sunlight. Almost all of us will get sunburnt at least once in our lives, and about 5.6 million Australians get sunburnt each year.

Causes of Sunburn

Common Causes of Sunburn :

  • Working outdoors.
  • Consumption of birth control pills.
  • Outdoor activities like swimming, skiing and hiking.
  • Antibacterial agents used in soaps.

Symptoms of Sunburn

Some common Symptoms of Sunburn :

  • Pain.
  • Oedema.
  • Blistering.
  • Erythema.
  • Skin feels hot to touch.
  • Tenderness and/or irritation.
  • Chills and fever.

Treatment of Sunburn

Some common Treatment of Sunburn :

  • Avoid direct sunlight by covering up and staying in the shade, until the sunburn has healed.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to replace the water lost through sweating in the sun, and to cool down. Don't drink alcohol because it will dehydrate you further.
  • Cool the skin by sponging it with tepid (lukewarm) water or having a cool shower or bath.
  • Severe burns may require special burn cream and burn dressings. Ask your pharmacist for advice; you may need to see your GP and have your burns dressed by a practice nurse. In very severe cases you may need treatment at your local Accident and Emergency Department
  • For adults, painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
  • For mild sunburn, apply a moisturising lotion or a special aftersun cream from a pharmacy. Aftersun helps to cool the skin as well as moisturising and relieving the feeling of tightness. Calamine lotion can also be used to relieve itching and soreness.








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