Sunburn Treatment & When to Seek Help


The weather is getting warmer, and it is time to brush up on sunburn prevention and treatment. Sunburns can be uncomfortable, but they also increase the risks of cataracts, skin cancer, and other skin changes, including wrinkles. In the case of sunburns, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Prevention is key when it comes to sunburn. Ideal protection includes wearing protective clothing like long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, UV-blocking sunglasses, and sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen should be applied prior to sun exposure and reapplied at least every two hours thereafter, especially if exposed to water or sweat. Seek shaded areas between the hours of 10am and 4pm when ultra-violet (UV) light intensity is the greatest.  

In the event of a sunburn, home management is usually appropriate. Cool compresses and aloe-based gels can be soothing to the skin. Tylenol or Ibuprofen are recommended for pain relief when taken as directed. If blistering occurs, it is important to keep them intact. However, in the event of a blister rupturing, gently clean the area with soap and water and cover it with a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and a clean dressing.  

Most sunburns can be managed at home, but severe sunburns should be evaluated by a medical provider. Signs of severe sunburn include fevers, headache, severe pain, and extensive blistering.  

Immediate Care now also offers virtual appointments! Our virtual care providers can walk you through assessment and treatment of sunburns. Just call 603-577-CARE to schedule a virtual visit Monday through Friday, 9 am – 7 pm. You can also check the Immediate Care walk-in wait times online

Our Immediate Care team is always there for you, providing quality care in your own community.  

Posted: 6/12/2023 by Amanda Coleman, APRN