Most of us have at least a vague idea that we need to protect our bodies from too much sun exposure. While the American Academy of Dermatology recommends using broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, many people find they need even more of a safeguard for their sensitive skin. But if you’ve spent all day at the beach and don’t realize just how much sun you’re getting, you may find you need medical care — or at the very least, some pain medication and topical gel.
But how do you know if your sunburn needs more than just aloe? And what should you do if the burn is severe?
We’re answering those questions below. If you think these signs are a little too familiar, you’ll need to pay a visit to world class urgent care providers in your area.
What to do before going to your local walk in clinic
If your sunburn is particularly bad, you’ll want to go to your nearest urgent care clinic for treatment. But before you go see the world class urgent care providers, you should:
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Something like ibuprofen can help control your pain and can even reduce inflammation. This can help contain your injury and better assess what treatment options are appropriate.
Rehydrate and cool down. You should drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. This will help you replenish the fluids you’ve lost. You may also want to apply a cool (not cold or hot) compress to your skin. This will relieve pain and keep your sunburn from spreading. Finally, apply a gel product that contains vitamin E and/or aloe to keep your skin moist and cool. Avoid any products that have “-caine” in the official name, as this can irritate your skin and even cause a serious skin reaction.
Assess the damage. Now that you’re out of the sun, you can get a better idea of how bad the burn is. If your skin has started to blister, do not try to pop them. If you start to feel sick or are in pain, you should make an emergency appointment with your doctor or go see the world class urgent care providers nearest you.
You should see experts in emergency care for your sunburn if:
- Your burn is blistering — this indicates a severe burn, especially if it covers a large portion of your body
- You have a fever — along with headache, dehydration, nausea, chills, and confusion, a fever can indicate heat stroke
- You have a skin infection — this is usually characterized by extreme pain, swelling, pus, or streaks emanating from your blisters
- Your burn doesn’t improve with home care — over-the-counter products have no effect or have a negative effect (i.e., irritation, adverse reactions) on your symptoms
While sunburns aren’t a particularly rare occurrence, they still need to be taken seriously. Even when you take all of the necessary precautions, like wearing sunscreen and hats, it’s still possible to end up with a bad burn. If and when you experience severe sunburn symptoms, don’t wait to seek out treatment. It’s better to be safe than sorry.