June 11, 2012 – Summertime means sun, fun and unfortunately, sometimes sunburn. Almost all of us have gotten sunburned at some point in our lives. Although the importance of sunscreen for the prevention of skin cancer has been widely publicized in recent years we still sometimes don’t apply enough or forget to reapply after swimming or perspiring a lot. You need sunscreen when the UV index is 3 or above, and on a day with a high UV index you can sunburn in as little as 15 minutes. But if you do end up looking like a lobster, how do you know when a sunburn is serious enough to get medical attention? Read on find out.
Any exposed part of your body can get sunburned. Even your eyes can become sunburned and may feel dried out, hurt or feel as though they’re full of sand. A serious sunburn can lead to skin infection, so if you have any of the symptoms below you should see your doctor or a qualified dermatologist for professional skin care.
A sunburn may not become noticeable until a few hours after exposure and it can continue to develop over the next one to three days. Signs that your sunburn is severe include skin color change from deep red to purple, blistering over a large area of skin, a high fever, intense pain, swelling, nausea, headache and chills.
Because of the blistering that accompanies a severe sunburn, infections can develop. If you have blisters that are opening and draining a yellowish fluid, have red streaks forming out from blisters, severe pain and very high fever you may have a serious secondary skin infection that requires immediate medical attention.
The best way to avoid a serious sunburn is to stay out of the sun between the hours of 10am and 2pm, wear protective clothing and hats, use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 15 or better yet, 30 or more, use enough sunscreen and reapply when needed.
Protecting your skin from sunburn should be an important part of your skin care routine all year, not just in the summer. Avoid getting sunburned and see a dermatologist if you do develop a serious sunburn.