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How do I treat a sunburn?

ANSWER

As soon as you spot a sunburn, head inside to treat it.

Soothe your burned skin with a cool, damp washcloth. Or take a cool shower or bath. Gently pat your skin dry afterward.

Apply an aloe vera lotion. Or use a hydrocortisone cream to relieve the itch. Don't use lotions with petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine, which can irritate.

If the sunburn is really sore, take acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen.

Drink extra water so you won’t get dehydrated.

Give your sunburn time to heal. Cover your burned skin with clothing and a hat when you go outside.

See a doctor if you have blisters on the sunburn, or you get a fever or chills. Don’t pop the blisters. They could get infected.

They could get infected.

SOURCES:

911.gov: “When to call 911.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Poison ivy: Tips for treating and preventing.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “First Aid: Burns,” “First Aid: Cuts, Scrapes, and Stitches.”

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Animal Bites,” “Sprained Ankle,” “Sprains and Strains: What’s the Difference?”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “Caring for Insect Bites and Stings,” “First Aid for Burns.”

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Insect Venom.”

American College of Emergency Physicians: “Home First Aid Kit,” “Is it an emergency?”

American Red Cross: “Ten Common First Aid Mistakes.”

CDC: “Tetanus: Who Needs to be Vaccinated?” “Venomous spiders.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Nosebleed (Epistaxis),” “Scars.”

Intermountain Healthcare: “Wound Care: Home Instructions.”

Medscape: “Animal bites in emergency medicine treatment & management.”

National Health Service: “Treating insect bites and stings.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “What are Sprains and Strains?”

Nemours Foundation: “Emergency Contact Sheet,” “First-Aid Kit,” “First Aid: Spider Bites,” “Nosebleeds,” “Splinters,” “The Story on Scars.”

Oregon Health Authority: “Antibiotics, Topical Review.”

Penn Medicine: “How to remove a splinter.”

Seattle Children’s Hospital: “Cuts, Scrapes or Bruises (Skin Injury).”

Skin Cancer Foundation: “Five Ways to Treat a Sunburn.”

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Hot Tips: First Aid for Burns,” “Taking Care of Cuts and Scrapes.”

UpToDate: “Animal Bites.”

FDA: “Outsmarting Poison Ivy and Other Poisonous Plants.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on December 23, 2018

SOURCES:

911.gov: “When to call 911.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Poison ivy: Tips for treating and preventing.”

American Academy of Family Physicians: “First Aid: Burns,” “First Aid: Cuts, Scrapes, and Stitches.”

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Animal Bites,” “Sprained Ankle,” “Sprains and Strains: What’s the Difference?”

American Academy of Pediatrics: “Caring for Insect Bites and Stings,” “First Aid for Burns.”

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Insect Venom.”

American College of Emergency Physicians: “Home First Aid Kit,” “Is it an emergency?”

American Red Cross: “Ten Common First Aid Mistakes.”

CDC: “Tetanus: Who Needs to be Vaccinated?” “Venomous spiders.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Nosebleed (Epistaxis),” “Scars.”

Intermountain Healthcare: “Wound Care: Home Instructions.”

Medscape: “Animal bites in emergency medicine treatment & management.”

National Health Service: “Treating insect bites and stings.”

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: “What are Sprains and Strains?”

Nemours Foundation: “Emergency Contact Sheet,” “First-Aid Kit,” “First Aid: Spider Bites,” “Nosebleeds,” “Splinters,” “The Story on Scars.”

Oregon Health Authority: “Antibiotics, Topical Review.”

Penn Medicine: “How to remove a splinter.”

Seattle Children’s Hospital: “Cuts, Scrapes or Bruises (Skin Injury).”

Skin Cancer Foundation: “Five Ways to Treat a Sunburn.”

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Hot Tips: First Aid for Burns,” “Taking Care of Cuts and Scrapes.”

UpToDate: “Animal Bites.”

FDA: “Outsmarting Poison Ivy and Other Poisonous Plants.”

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on December 23, 2018

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