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Sunburn is caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, either from the sun, sunlamps, or some workplace light sources, such as welding arcs. Severe sunburn can occur even when the skies are overcast. Sunburn results in red, swollen, painful, and sometimes blistered skin. A mild sunburn is usually uncomfortable for 24 to 48 hours. Chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting can occur if the sunburn is extensive and severe. Sunburn should always be avoided - it can cause skin cancer, including malignant melanoma, premature aging, and wrinkling.
The risk for sunburn is increased for persons with fair skin, blue eyes, and red or blond hair, persons taking some medications including sulfa, tetracyclines, some diuretics, and Benadryl, and persons exposed to industrial UV light sources or excessive outdoor sunlight.

Seek Emergency Help If... there are any of the following signs of dehydration:

  • Confusion, faintness, dizziness, or vision problems
  • Very little or no urine output
  • Sunken eyes or no tears
  • Dry skin that doesn't spring back after being pinched
  • Extreme dryness in mouth and extreme thirst
  • Fever of 102 degrees F or higher, chills, nausea

See Your Doctor If...

  • You are in severe pain
  • Swelling and fluid-filled blisters (second-degree burn) develop

Self-Care Tips...

  • Cool affected area with damp cloths or take a cool shower
  • Take a cool bath with a half cup of cornstarch, oatmeal, or baking soda in the water
  • Use over-the-counter medicine for pain and/or fever relief
  • Apply aloe vera gel to the burned area 2-3 times a day. Do not apply greasy lotions such as baby oil or ointments - they can make the burn worse by sealing in the heat
  • Avoid further sun exposure to the affected area (cover or use sunscreen)
  • Rest in a cool, quiet room
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid local anesthetic creams or sprays that numb pain (may cause allergic reactions in some people

Prevention Tips...

  • Avoid exposure to midday sun (10am - 2pm standard time or 11am - 3pm daylight savings time)
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15-30 or more when exposed to the sun. The lighter the skin, the higher the SPF should be. Make sure the sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Reapply sunscreen every hour and after swimming
  • Wear lip balm and makeup with sunscreen protection
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves
  • Wear muted colors such as tan. Bright colors and white reflect the sun onto the face
  • Wear sunglasses that absorb at least 90% of both UVA and UVB rays
  • Zinc oxide products block all the sun's rays and are good for the nose and lips
  • Be extra careful when at higher altitudes or on the water or snow - the sun's rays are more intense

Visit the Health Resource Center at Forks Community Hospital

Stop in the Forks Community Hospital to see the above information on display and also pick up your copies of helpful information to support you in meeting your new goals. May we all have a healthier year filled with many moments that are dear and will be remembered forever!

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