“Fun in the sun” is a saying used regularly on the Alabama Gulf Coast. It is why Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are so popular with visitors looking for relaxation on the beach. Sunbathers bask in the sun for days hoping for that glow that comes with a great tan while kids play their hearts out for hours and hours not knowing the effects. If you’re planning on soaking up some rays at the beach, continue reading for sunburn prevention and treatment tips to protect your skin while on vacation.
More often than not, the evenings after a day on the beach are painful. The burn sneaks up on you and the next thing you know, you are searching for anything that will relieve the pain. It normally takes about 5 hours for the sunburn symptoms to develop so if your skin is pink in the sun, it probably will be much worse later.
Sunburns are especially bad for children and can increase their risk for melanoma cancer with even one blistering burn. Sunburns inflict long-lasting damage and even induce wrinkles. Many of us still overexpose our skin to harmful UV rays that can cause swelling, sunburn blisters, fever, chills, nausea and headaches.
So why would people overexpose their skin to the sun’s harmful rays despite health warnings? According to the Center for Disease Control, 70% of children and one-third of adults have admitted to getting sunburned in the past year. It is impossible to reverse skin damage so preventing it is the only way to avoid it.
Before we list the ways to treat overexposure to the sun, here are a few tips to avoid getting sunburn:
- Seek shade, especially between 11 am and 2 pm.
- Use an SPF sunscreen of 15 or higher and reapply every two hours if sunbathing and every hour if swimming.
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat.
- Wear UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Wear clothing to cover exposed skin. Swim shirts are great for children and provide outstanding protection from the sun.
Accidents happen and even the most cautious people sometimes get burned. If you adhere to the sunburn warnings but you still come home with a burn, taking these certain steps can take help relieve the discomfort.
- Drink plenty of water to hydrate and replace body fluids.
- Soak in a tub with cool water, and do not wash your skin with soap as this can dry out your skin and irritate the sunburn.
- Take an anti-inflammatory to reduce redness and swelling.
- Rub down with refrigerated Aloe gel to reduce swelling and cool the damaged skin. Don’t rub the aloe in all the way though, leaving the skin moist with the gel will help prevent peeling.
Beach goers are not the only ones that overexpose their skin to the sun. Fishing, golfing, landscaping and attending sporting events often end with skin exposure to UV rays. Sunburns can occur all year if you are outside for any length of time but the UV index is higher form May to August.
Time and patience are the only real cure for sunburns. Have fun this summer and make sure the sun doesn’t get the best of you by avoiding overexposure, and be sure to check out our post on beach safety tips to keep everyone safe and happy on your next beach trip.