Sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer. Some people are under the impression that sunburn only happens when out in direct sun for a long period of time. You can get sunburn when out in the sun for a brief moment, even when it's cloudy.
It’s important we look after our skin and apply sunscreen when we are in the sun. It’s easy not to realise that we are getting burnt. Sunburn can happen less than 15 minutes of being in the sun, but the redness and discomfort may not be noticed for a few hours.
It’s necessary to take extra care to protect babies & children. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin and damage caused by repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life.
Make sure you apply at least SPF30 sunscreen and SPF50 for children. It must be at least 4-star UVA protection. Children aged under 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen. It should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears and head (if you have thinning or no hair). If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced.
Use water-resistant sunscreen if it's likely you'll sweat or have contact with water. Sunscreen should be reapplied straight after you have been in water, even if it's "water resistant" and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off. It's also recommended to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, as the sun can dry it off your skin.
Sunburn is caused by over exposure to the sun.
The signs and symptoms to look for are:
reddened skin and pain in the affected area
Swelling and blistering may appear
What to do:
Do not remain in the sun, stay in a shaded area or ideally indoors
Keep the affected area covered and protected from direct sunlight until fully healed
Make sure to stay cool and hydrated by drinking plenty of water
Cool your skin with a cool shower or bath, or by lightly wiping it with a damp towel. When cooling babies and younger children, take care not to get them too cold.
For mild sunburns, apply after-sun lotion such as Aloe Vera and Calamine lotion to aid alleviate irritation and pain
Take pain relief for any pain
If the sunburn is severe (such as blistering skin), you should seek medical advice.
Read more on sunburn:
Written by Fi Ramos, Public Health Nurse & First Aid Instructor at Act2care.
Information on this site is evidence based and provided to create awareness and advice only. If you are worried about a condition, seek medical advice.
Theoretical first aid tips are beneficial, however practical demonstrations and exercises are necessary for gaining high standard of first aid knowledge and skills.
If you are interested in gaining first aid skills, contact Fi to find our more about our paediatric first aid classes at firstname.lastname@example.org