Treating A Sunburn

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

Knoxville (WVLT) - Many of you are probably recovering from the holiday weekend.

From grilling to swimming to boating, chances are you spent at least some time outdoors.

And these mostly sunny skies are the perfect condition for a sunburn.

So, unless you took some precautions, you're probably dealing with the consequences in the form of painful, red skin.

There's no shortage of things to do outdoors in East Tennessee, but if you're not careful, you could get burned.

And once you do, the damage is done.

"Treatment for sunburn is really just symptomatic care,” says dermatologist Dr. Matthew Doppelt. “Anything that you can do to help relieve the pain, to make you feel better, over that initial one to two days when the pain is really intense."

Using cool cloths on sunburned areas and taking cool showers and baths will provide some relief.

Applying soothing lotions that contain aloe vera or topical steroids like hydrocortisone may also help with the pain and swelling.

But there's little you can do to stop skin from peeling after a sunburn... It's part of the healing process.

"Aloe vera may have some benefits there, emollient creams, such as something like Aquafor, just again to help protect that skin. But if it's going to peel, it's going to peel,” Dr. Doppelt says.

A sunburn can also cause a mild fever and headache.

Over-the-counter medicines, like Tylenol, ibuprofen or aspirin, can help treat your fever or pain.

Besides a fever and a headache, you should also watch for vision problems, nausea or vomiting, or if you're unable to drink enough to replace lost fluids because many of these symptoms are caused by dehydration.

"When you've had a sunburn, and maybe you're experiencing some of these symptoms, it's important to stay well-hydrated and that means drink plenty of water."

Most people will heal without problems, but if symptoms become more severe or frequent, get medical attention immediately.

You've probably heard about some popular home remedies, like soaking a washcloth in milk and water to make a cool compress, or adding oatmeal or baking soda to a cool bath.

While there's no research to support their safety or effectives, they may help relieve your symptoms.

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