When You Should Have a Sunburn Checked Out by a Professional

Avoiding a sunburn altogether is one of the best ways to protect yourself from damage and skin cancer. If your skin is stinging, tight, and radiating heat from too much time in the sun, you need care.

Usually, sunburn is a condition you can treat at home, but professional help is necessary in some cases. If the sunburn victim is younger than 1 year old, call Family Medicine and Acute Care of Sandhills in Cameron, North Carolina. Other symptoms indicate a need for a doctor’s visit, too.

Home care

Before heading to our office, take steps to care for your sunburn at home. Drink plenty of water and other hydrating fluids, such as juice and sports drinks. Apply aloe or other sunburn-appropriate moisturizing lotion generously. A cool bath or shower can ease your pain and pull some heat from your body. You also can apply cold compresses to bring relief.

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help ease your pain. Stay out of the sun until your burn resolvesk, and wear sunscreen when you go back out. Don’t pop any blisters that form — leave them intact.

Sometimes these home-care strategies fail to prevent sunburn complications or even to bring relief. If that’s the case for you, a visit to Family Medicine and Acute Care of Sandhills is in order.

Warning signs of a serious burn

If your sunburn is severe and blistering, or if it covers a very large portion of your body, seek professional care. You should have a doctor check out any blisters that are larger than 2 inches, or those that are oozing, swollen, or radiate red streaks.

A sunburn that’s accompanied by fever, headache, dehydration, nausea, chills, or confusion also requires professional care. You may come in for a visit if you have severe pain that worsens instead of improves with time. If you have a severe sunburn and are due for a tetanus shot, we can help.

Professional sunburn care

The team at Family Medicine and Acute Care of Sandhills may offer you a corticosteroid cream for your severe sunburn. In cases that cover a large area of your body, you may even receive a prescription of prednisone. If you develop a skin infection or infected blister as a result of your sunburn, you may need a course of antibiotics.

Protect yourself next time

While it may be too late this time, take measures in the future to prevent a dangerous sunburn. Avoid direct sunlight between 10am and 4pm, and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 15 daily. If you plan on being in the sun for an extended period of time, up that SPF to 30.

Cover up with clothing when you can, including a wide-brimmed hat. Remember that people with any skin color can experience a burn — even those with darker tones.

At Family Medicine and Acute Care of Sandhills, we’re happy to evaluate your sunburn if you’re concerned about complications. Call our office with questions, or request a consultation using this website.

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