Yale New Haven Tips on Sunburns
First aid for sunburn
If your child gets a sunburn, these tips can help make your child more comfortable:
- Have your child take a cool bath or use cool compresses on the sunburned area.
- Give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen for discomfort and fever. Be sure to follow the directions on the container.
- Apply a topical moisturizer, aloe gel, hydrocortisone cream or a topical pain reliever to sunburned skin.
- If blisters are present, do not break them open as infection can occur.
- Keep your child out of the sun until the burn is healed.
- Give your child extra fluid for several days to avoid dehydration.
When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?
Specific treatment for sunburn will be determined by your child’s healthcare provider and may depend on the severity of the sunburn. In general, call your child’s healthcare provider if:
- The sunburn is severe or forms blisters
- Your child has symptoms of heat stress such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, dehydration or feeling faint
Protect your child from the sun starting at birth and continuing throughout your child’s life. The best way to prevent sunburn in children older than 6 months is to follow the A, B, Cs recommended by The American Academy of Dermatology:
Away: Stay away from the sun in the middle of the day. This is when the sun’s rays are the most damaging.
Block: Block the sun’s rays using a SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. Apply the lotion 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it often during the day. Use broad spectrum sunscreens that block the greatest amount of UVA and UVB rays.
Cover-up: Cover up using protective clothing, such as a long sleeve shirt and hat when in the sun. Use clothing with a tight weave to keep out as much sunlight as possible. Sunglasses and hats with brims are important. Clothing rated with UPF (UV protection factor) can also be worn.
*Keep babies younger than 6 months old out of direct sunlight at all times.
*The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using sunscreen on small areas of the infant’s body only, such as the face, if protective clothing and shade are not available.
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