Fact File about First Aid for Sunburn

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Major causes for sunburn

Sunburn is a term commonly referred for red, swollen and painful skin. It is mainly caused due to  over-exposure to sunlight, containing different kinds of ultraviolet (UV) radiation.  Many sunlamps and light sources also contain ultraviolet radiations and over exposure to them lead to sunburn as well. Those persons who have fair skin, taking medications like sulfa drugs, work with UV light sources and more exposed to sunlight and are likely to suffer from the problem.


The symptoms of sunburn do not appear instantly, they appear after few hours of sunburn. Redness, swelling, pain, occasional blistering, irritation, severe reactions like chills, nausea, rash, fever, etc. are some of the common symptoms of the condition. Although, symptoms are temporary in  nature, the skin damage is permanent and have long lasting health effects.

First Aid for sunburn

  • First of all, either try taking cool shower or place wet and cold cloth on affected area for 10-15 minutes, many times in a day. Baking soda can also be mixed in water as it helps in relieving the pain.
  • Application of moisturizing lotion of aloe vera provides a great relief. Aloe vera contains certain active compounds which help in slowing down pain and inflammation.
  • If required, over-the counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken. Even over-the-counter topical steroid cream can be used if pain still persists.
  • Leaving blisters intact help in healing and avoiding infection. In case, they burst their own, apply antibacterial ointment on the affected area.
  • Drink plenty of water and prefer resting in cool place.
  • Last but not the least, cover the affected area with clothes immediately in order to avoid further sun exposure.

An important point necessary to highlight is that avoid using petroleum jelly, egg whites, butter or any other home remedies as they can delay in healing process. Moreover, do not wash affected skin with harsh soaps.


If possible, avoid sun exposure during peak hours like 10am to 4pm as sunlight's intensity remain quite high. Avoid stepping out in the sun till the time the sunburn gets treated. If required, wear hats and full sleeved clothes. Protect your skin by applying Sun Protective Factor (SPF) of 15 or above 30 minutes prior stepping out. Do not forget to wear sunglasses with UV protection.

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Written by: healthplus24 team
Date last updated: May 02, 2015