Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

Sunburn Causes More Missed Days at Work

Sunburn Can Have Ripple Effect on Economy, Costing Millions

WebMD Health News

Aug. 29, 2003 -- The sting of sunburn is more far reaching than you might expect. Besides having a deadly link to skin cancer, a new study shows it is also a pain for the economy -- causing millions of dollars in missed workdays each year.

Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston report that 16% of the sunburned beachgoers they surveyed miss an average of two workdays a year. The findings appear in the latest issue of Archives of Dermatology.

"The economic impact of sunburn is potentially enormous," said researcher Richard F. Wagner, MD, dermatology professor at University of Texas, in a news release.

Missed Days Add Up

And those missed days add up to big dollars for employers -- millions of dollars.

Researchers surveyed 56 sunburned beachgoers on a two-mile stretch of public beachfront in Galveston, Texas. They asked them questions to determine the frequency and severity of past sunburns. They also called them the next day to find out how much time they would miss from work as a result of the previous day's sunburn.

They found 68% reported painful sunburn. People who drank alcohol at the beach had more severe sunburns than nondrinkers, even if they spent the same amount of time in the sun. Finally, 28% of the group said they had missed between eight and nine days of work because of sunburn within the last year.

In all, nearly 50,000 Galveston County residents miss work as a result of sunburn each year. That means more than 90,000 lost workdays, totaling a whopping $10 million annually, researchers write.

When researchers projected their findings to apply to all the 3 million visitors to Galveston beaches each year, they found that sunburns there could cost the economy as much as $40 million each year in lost work.

Researchers did not factor sunburn-related expenses -- such as fees for doctor visits and drug costs -- into the equation.

Studies have showed that avoiding sunburns, especially in childhood and adolescence, may reduce the risk of melanoma skin cancer. The National Cancer Institute suggests reducing exposure to high-intensity UV radiation, wearing protective clothing when out in the sun, and using sunscreen to protect yourself.

Today on WebMD

Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
itchy skin
shingles rash on skin
woman with skin tag
Woman washing face
woman washing her hair in sink
close up of womans bare neck
woman with face cream