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First Aid for Scalding Burns

If you or a family member suffers a scalding burn, take the following steps to start healing:

  • Remove any clothing that is wet from the hot liquid.
  • Slowly cool the injury under running tap water for 30 minutes.
  • Do not apply ice, because it may stop important blood flow to the damaged skin.
  • Do not apply butter or salves to scald injuries.

Preventing Sunburn

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Repeated sunburns increase the risk of skin cancer, and that’s why it’s so important to protect your skin. To prevent sunburn, wear these:

  • Sunscreen. Be sure your sunscreen has an SPF of 30 or higher and provides both UVA and UVB protection. Reapply every two hours when you are in the sun, and more often if you’re sweating or getting in and out of the water.
  • Hat. Choose a hat made of a tightly woven fabric, which protects better than straw or mesh. Make sure it has a brim that goes all the way around the hat.
  • Clothing. Tightly woven cloth in darker colors provides the best protection.
  • Sunglasses. The sun can hurt your eyes, too. Wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection now may help prevent cataracts later in life.

Use common sense. Shade may provide some protection from sunburn, but you should still protect your skin even when in the shade. Limit your time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are most intense.

First Aid for Sunburn

While sunburn may lead to cancer later, it can be painful now. Here are some tips to relieve the burn:

  • Take ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or moisturizing cream three times a day to help with swelling and pain. This can also help if sunburn starts to itch later.
  • If blisters break, trim off the dead skin with scissors and apply an antibiotic ointment. Don't intentionally break the blisters.
  • Take cool baths or apply cool, wet compresses several times daily. Adding 2 ounces of baking soda to a tub full of cool water may also help.
  • Do not apply petroleum jelly, butter, or ointments to sunburn.