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Dr. Mark Hosko, MD, January 11 2021

Treating and preventing sunburn and sun poisoning

Preventing sunburn and sun poisoning

Summer weather is now in full swing here in Portland.  As people begin to spend more time outdoors and on the water, sunburn is inevitable.

Sunburn is one condition that is easily preventable.  Staying out of the sun is a foolproof way to protect your skin, but this is also not very much fun.  If you want to enjoy the outdoors safely, you need to use sunscreen generously and often.  A sunscreen with an SPF, or sun protection factor, of more than 15 is best.  It is important to keep in mind that you must be just as diligent in applying sunscreen with higher SPF as you would with a smaller number.

Fair-skinned, light-haired people are the most vulnerable to burns from the sun, as are young children and babies.  Being on or near the water can intensify the effects of the sun, so it is important to be extra careful.

If you get sunburned, you’ll want to soothe the burned skin.  Aloe is an effective, natural substance that heals and soothes sunburn.  Many gels, creams and sprays are available that contain aloe.  Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to relieve inflammation and pain.  It is also a good idea to drink extra fluids while healing.

At Portland Urgent Care, we do see some severe cases of sunburn, also known as sun poisoning.  In these cases, sunburn symptoms are typically accentuated to a severe point.  In these patients, we tend to see numerous large blisters and there may be fever, chills, faintness, confusion, swelling and signs of dehydration as well.  If you have these symptoms, it is important to get to an urgent care center with a minimal wait time.

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Written by

Dr. Mark Hosko, MD

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