Sunburn

Disponible En Espanol


Definition:

  • Red or blistered skin from too much sun
  • The redness, pain and swelling starts at 4 hours
  • It peaks at 24 hours, and starts to get better after 48 hours

Severity of Sunburn

  • Most sunburn is a first-degree burn that turns the skin pink or red.
  • Prolonged sun exposure can cause blistering and a second-degree burn.
  • Sunburn never causes a third-degree burn or scarring.

Causes

  • Direct sun exposure. Warnings: Clouds don’t help. 70% of UV light still gets through on cloudy days.
  • Reflected sun rays. From snow 80% is reflected, from sand 20%, from water only 5%.
  • Tanning lamp or sun lamp.
  • Tanning bed. A common cause in teens.

Ibuprofen to Reduce Pain and Other Symptoms

  • Sunburn is an inflammatory reaction of the skin.
  • Ibuprofen is a drug that can block this reaction. It can reduce the redness and swelling.  But, it needs to be started early.
  • Sunburns are sneaky.  Many parents are surprised when their child gets a sunburn. Reason: There are no warning signs while the burn is occurring.
  • Redness (sunburn) often is not seen until 4 hours after being in the sun. The pain and redness keep getting worse. They don’t peak for 24 to 36 hours. 
  • Lesson: If you think your child got too much sun, start ibuprofen then.  Give it 3 times per day for 2 days. Don’t wait for redness.

Disclaimer

The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

  • Not a Substitute - The information and materials in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker should not be used as a substitute for the care and knowledge that your physician can provide to you.
  • Supplement - The information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker are meant to supplement the information that you obtain from your physician. If there is a disagreement between the information presented herein and what your physician has told you -- it is more likely that your physician is correct. He or she has the benefit of knowing your child's medical problems.
  • Limitations - You should recognize that the information and materials presented here in Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker have the following limitations, in comparison to being examined by your own physician:
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    • Your child could have an underlying medical problem that requires a physician to detect.
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