Sun Burns

What are sun burns?

Sun burns are reddish/brownish patches formed due to excessive inflammation of the skin, normally from the overhead sun. Sun Burns may also be in the form of boils or blisters with fluid or pus filled inside. Symptoms of burns include redness, pain, swelling or itching. These are mainly caused by long exposure to the sun in areas like Andaman where one stays on the beaches for long hours.

The UVB (Ultra Violet Burning) rays that are maximum at midday are the major cause for sun burns. Staying in the water, or standing in the shade will also offer no respite as most UV rays are reflected from water, sand and concrete. Even if you are going in for a tan, make sure to protect yourself from Sun burns as they are not only painful, but can cause serious health hazards.

Precautionary measures a must.

Application of a UVB protecting sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out, and maintaining adequate water and Vitamin – C levels in the body is a prerequisite for shielding against sun burns. But if you have chosen to ignore the fuss, and braved the heat like a true warrior, take some steps to protect yourself, otherwise, you may be in for serious trouble.

Sun burns are more lethal in character. The body and the skin needs to be cooled from inside to increase blood supply to the burnt areas and minimise damage. Intake of Vitamin C enriched juices and cooling drinks becomes a must. If you can get hold of any of these such as aloe vera juice, cucumber juice, coconut water, raw potato juice, lemonade , Electral water, sweet lime juice etc, they will offer instant relief.

Consuming such juices at regular intervals alongwith other fruits such as apple, banana, limes, grapes, strawberries, plums and peaches will regulate the body temperature and blood pressure.

The importance of fruits and drinks while you are in the sun, and when you are straight out of the sun cannot be over emphasised. They also inhibit any inflamation of the liver, will check against headache and dizziness, increase the oxygen supply in the blood and prevent your skin from drying excessively.I


What to do after a Sun Burn?

Sun Burn marks may not show on your skin before 24 hours, but headache, nausea or dizziness from the sun, pain and itching on the sun burnt areas  and mild fever may start immediately. You must take cue, to take a cool shower,  sprinkle some cooling talcum powder and have non alcoholic drinks to minimise the effects of burns.  If you are going into the shower while your body is still hot, remember not to put your head into the cold water.  It might lead to cold and high temperatures.

There are some good After Sun Lotions available in the market, that that can be applied topically onto the sunburnt areas to minimise the harmful effects of the ultra violet rays on the dermise.

The UV rays from the overhead sun can penetrate deep into the middle and lower layers of the skin, burning the skin  tissues, nerve endings, blood capiullaries and even interfering with the DNA structure.

After Sun Lotions or anti biotic creams containing compounds such as Allantoin, Vitamin E and B, organic aleovera, seaweed or tea leaves extracts or other flower seed oils help in regeneration of the epithelial cells, reducing inflamation and healing wounds.

Re-Apply the cream a number of times for the next couple of days for maximum benefit and to alleviate any aggravation of the burn.

If you do not have the after sun lotion at your disposal, or until the time they arrive, you can make do with some homemade remedies to sooth the skin and relieve the pain.

Enter kitchen for the first aid box. Yogurt is a good cooling agent. At the same time, it soothes, moisturises and makes the skin soft. In case there is not yogurt in the fridge, a lot people profess that vinegar does the trick. Simply soak a hand towel in a mug of vinegar and dab or cover on the burns. Do not wipe as it may cause irritation. Honey too, is very effective. After some time, a light coat of honey can be smeared over the burns to reduce redness and prevent infection.

Topical application of aleo vera based gel or cream that may be present at the moment, will also help in soothing the skin.  Its natural cooling properties makes it an excellent antidote to sun burns.  If you’ve got calamine lotion, apply that to reduce redness, itching, burning and swelling.

What to do for Blisters?

In case of swelling and blistering, that will show up only after the next day, remember never to  pierce them, peel or attempt to scratch them. No matter how bad they might look, they actually form a protective coating over the tender, deeper layers of the skin. Once the underneath skin  matures, the blistered dead cells are shed away as a natural process.  However, creams that are anti bacterial, anti fungal and can penetrate deep into skin to reduce scarring can be used to accelerate the healing process.

Blisters can be pretty painful and itchy. It may be filled with serum, pus or blood. It is better to show it to a doctor for proper treatment and advice.  However, warm  fomentation with borax or baking soda or tea tree oil can be done twice a  day to reduce the swelling. They are also antiseptic and will eliminate any onset of infection. Hydrocortisone cream or calamine can be applied after fomentation to control itching.

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