How to prevent and treat a sunburn

How to prevent and treat a sunburn

The Florida Keys are known for its beautiful beaches and bright sunshine. People from all over the world vacation here for that very reason. What many tourists don’t realize before arriving with sun glasses and flip flops in hand, is just how direct and strong those sun rays are down here. Key West is a little over 1,500 miles from the equator where the sun’s rays are the most intense.

The best way to treat a sunburn is to prevent one. Use sunscreen 50+ all the time. Apply liberally and frequently. Especially when swimming. Cover up as much of your skin as possible with breathable clothing.  This is especially important with children.

Even with the best prevention, we sometimes slip up -- fall asleep at the pool, take a siesta on the beach, spend too much time admiring the coral and fish on a snorkeling trip. It’s easy to do in paradise. Here are a few ways to treat a sunburn:

-- Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. Being in the sun and heat dehydrates you. Combine this with a skin burn that pulls the water in your body toward the skin, you have trouble. And, no, alcohol does not count as water!

-- Take an anti-inflammatory (NSAID) pain reliever like Ibuprofen for swelling and pain.

-- Use an aloe vera gel for cooling pain relief. Aloe also helps moisturize the tender skin.

-- Use non-petroleum based moisturizes until sunburn is gone.

-- Soak yourself in cool water (out of the sunshine) and/or apply cold compresses as need for discomfort.

--Stay out of the sun.  Don’t continue to stay in the sun once you’ve been burned.  Get to the shade, put on clothes to protect your burned skin. 

If the pain or discomfort is too severe, or you are having dizziness or periods of disorientation, this may indicate severe dehydration and or heat stroke.   You need to seek medical assistance immediately.

The Florida Keys can truly be paradise.   If you get sunburned on your first day in the Keys, you will be experiencing this paradise from the inside. Thinking ahead and protecting your skin from burn will allow you to truly experience the Keys like a local.

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