What is it?
Sunburn appears around six to 49 hours after extreme sun exposure. The skin appears red
or “burnt” coupled with tenderness, swelling, and a fever. Excessive ultraviolet (UV) exposure carries lifetime consequences: increased chances of having skin cancer later in life, premature aging, and irreversible skin damage.
What causes it?
Sunburn occurs when UV radiation goes beyond the protective capacity of melanin. Lesser amounts of UV will often produce skin tanning, just as greater amounts of melanin in a person’s skin create a tan, rather than sunburn.
How can it be prevented?
- Avoid exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., the sun’s rays are at their most intense.
- Use protective clothing such as hats and long sleeved, breathable clothes.
- Use sun block with an SPF (sun protector factor) of at least 30.
- Apply sun block 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow penetration in the deeper layers of the skin, and reapply generously every two hours or if your child has been in the water or is sweating a lot.
How is it treated?
- Apply a cool compress with wet or cold towels on the infected area or give your child a cool bath.
- Avoid applying products that contain benzocaine, lidocaine, or petroleum which can cause allergic reactions.
- For worst-case scenarios, apply doctor prescribed topical medications.
- Use hypoallergenic moisturizers to prevent over-drying when your child’s skin begins to peel.
Check out other skin health problems prevalent in the summer:
- Prickly Heat
- Skin Asthma
- Mijaru Malayang-Kimwell, M.D., medicine resident, East Avenue Medical Center
- Department of Health’s Health Advisories, doh.gov.ph
- “Recent intelligence on the evil triad of allergy, asthma, and eczema,” AboutKidshealth.ca
Photo from sxc.hu