Summer may be coming to a close, but in Southern California, sunburns can be a year-round issue in our sunny climate. Even though trips to the beach and afternoons spent at the pool have given way to soccer practice and school playgrounds, sun safety is as important as ever.
- Everyone should wear sunscreen whenever they’re outdoors, no matter what season we’re in or what the temperature is. Since babies under six months old have skin that is especially susceptible to sun damage, they should be kept out of the sun whenever possible.
- Apply sunscreen every two hours that has SPF 30 or higher. Reapply more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for extra protection.
- Double-check your family’s medications, since some may cause an increased sensitivity to sunlight.
But what happens when you do your best to protect yourself and your family from the sun, but sunburn still happens? We spoke to Dr. Daniel Mackey, a CHOC Children’s pediatrician, for a physician’s tips for sunburn remedies.
- Use ibuprofen as needed for pain for the first few days after an especially uncomfortable sunburn.
- A cold compress can help cool the skin. Either a damp cloth with cool water, or taking a cool shower or bath can work for this.
- To help relieve the sting sunburn can leave behind; apply a 0.5 percent or 1 percent hydrocortisone cream to the damaged skin.
- Aloe vera gel, or a product containing aloe vera, can help with the skin healing.
- Drink extra fluids during recovery. On a typical day, kids up to age 8 should drink the number of 8 oz. cups of water equal to their age. For example, a five-year-old should drink five 8-oz. glasses of water every day.
- Avoid further sun exposure while the skin is healing.
If the pain is getting worse or the skin is becoming more red or tender in the days following a sunburn, it is best to seek medical care, as your child might be experiencing an infection. Find a provider near you.