A: The best way to prevent a sunburn is to use sunscreen before going out. If a sunburn does occur, it is important to know if and how you can self-treat.
Sunburns should only be self-treated if they are minor. If you experience severe blistering or burns covering large areas of the body along with high fever or extreme pain, seek care from your physician. If the burn is minor, there are several things that you can do to relieve the pain and discomfort. First, cool the affected area by soaking in cool water for 10 – 15 minutes. Using cool cloths, ice packs or taking a cool shower may help as well. Next, apply moisturizers, such as cocoa butter, glycerin or petrolatum to help reduce the swelling and peeling associated with the sunburn. Hydrocortisone cream may also be used on the skin to relieve any discomfort.
If you are experiencing pain with the sunburn, using over-the-counter products such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen may help. Lastly, make sure to drink plenty of water in order to keep your body hydrated, because dehydration can aggravate the effects of the sunburn. If the burn does not improve or worsens, make sure to contact your physician. If you have any questions or need any advice on choosing the right products, please feel free to stop by the pharmacy.
Answer provided by Hy-Vee Drugstore, 1541 S.E. Third St., Suite 100, 986-4527.