Summer is the best time for having fun in the sun.
But health experts advise people against getting too many rays that can cause sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer.
Sunburns cause the skin to become red, swollen and warm to the touch and can bring mild to severe pain.
“The acute inflammation of a sunburn is the skin’s reaction to UV rays from the sun or artificial sources such as tanning beds,” explained Tina Sary, nurse practitioner with Cottage Virtual Care. “Recurring exposure over time can trigger skin cells to turn into cancer cells.”
Children and adolescents who get frequent sunburns are at higher risk of developing skin cancer later in life, she added.
The first signs of a sunburn are reddening of the skin about 3 to 5 hours after exposure, and burns can last from one day to one week, according to Ms. Sary.
“Most sunburns are ‘self-limiting,’ meaning they resolve on their own. There are ways to ease the discomfort and speed up the healing process,” she said in a Cottage Health news release. “Cool compresses, aloe-based lotions and calamine lotion are the best ways to treat a sunburn. Apply these at the first sign of a sunburn and continue for the next few days as needed.”
To reduce the risks of sunburn and skin damage, she advises people to stay out of the sun, especially between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. She also recommends always using sunscreen and making sure to reapply it every two hours.
For sunburns that need more attention, Cottage Virtual Care, a clinical provider, is available online 24/7, 365 days a year. No insurance is required, and, in most cases, treatment plans are ready in minutes, according to Cottage Health.
For more information, visit www.cottagehealth.org/virtualcare.