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How to Treat an Accidental Sunburn (and Prevent It Next Time)

Plenty of us have suffered an accidental sunburn. You know, the one you get when you thought you packed the sunscreen only to realize when you arrive at your destination that it’s nowhere to be found.

Or maybe you ended up outside when you hadn’t planned on it, you forgot to reapply it later in the day — or you just flat out missed a huge spot during what you thought was a thorough application.

However it happened, the end result is that your skin is now hot, throbbing and turning lobster colored fast. Now what?

Knock down your skin’s temperature

First of all, “get out of the sun right away and get your skin cooled down,” advises dermatologist Melissa Piliang, MD. “Take a cool bath or shower to bring the temperature of your skin down.” This helps reduce inflammation. Make it short though — excessive time in the water dries your skin out.

Another option to cool your skin? Use a cold compress, especially if your burn only affects one area. Wet a towel or washcloth with cool water and gently place it on the burn. Repeat until your skin feels cooler to the touch.

Moisturize and comfort yourself

Next, while your skin is still wet, apply a moisturizer cream or lotion to help seal in moisture, says Dr. Piliang. Don’t use ointment and don’t moisturize until your skin has cooled; these both trap heat, causing more pain and inflammation. Apply moisturizer to the burn frequently the first few days to limit dryness.

Once your skin is moisturized, “You can take something for the inflammation, like ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin,” she says. To relieve pain or burning, apply aloe vera gel. For itching, try a thin layer of one percent hydrocortisone cream. You can keep using cool compresses as often as desired as well.

Because a sunburn draws fluids away from other parts of your body to your skin, “it’s really important to make sure you’re hydrating well,” notes Dr. Piliang. “Drink a lot of water. Sports drinks that replenish electrolytes can also help.”

If you have blisters over a large area, you’re in a lot of pain, or you’ve developed a fever, chills, dizziness or confusion, call your doctor.

Preventing accidental sunburn

So what can you do to minimize your chance of getting a sunburn the next time you’re caught without your sunscreen? “Find shade,” Dr. Piliang says. “That can really help.”

She also recommends keeping a hat in your car for sunscreen emergencies, though ideally you already wear one any time you’re out in the sun. Tightly woven fabric is best, as is a brim that’s two to three inches wide so it protects your face, ears and neck.

Consider stashing protective clothing in your car as well. It’s a good habit to wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when you’re in the sun, though white clothing isn’t as protective as darker colors, notes Dr. Piliang. As with hats, the tighter the weave of the fabric, the more protection you’ll get. “You can also buy shirts that have SPF in them at big box stores for an affordable price,” she says.

If you don’t want to invest in new clothes, you can wash the ones you already have in a treatment that’s designed to boost their natural ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) from UPF 5 to UPF 30, she adds. Simply add the treatment to your normal laundry cycle and it lasts for 20 washes.

SOURCE: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-treat-an-accidental-sunburn-and-prevent-it-next-time/


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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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