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Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Sunburns

Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Sunburns Can

May is an exciting month for outdoor activities. As the weather improves, most of us are anxious to get outside for some fun. Our skin may not like the sun as much as we do, though. Here's what you need to know about protecting your skin and treating sunburns for faster relief.

How To Prevent a Sunburn

The best way to care for your skin is to keep it from getting burned in the first place. It will help prevent premature aging and lower the risk of skin cancer. Ways to prevent sunburn include:

  • Stay out of the sun. Use an umbrella or shade to prevent sunburn, particularly in the middle of the day.
  • Wear sunscreen. Choose at least an SPF 15 or higher based on your skin tone. Remember to re-apply throughout the day, even if it’s cloudy!
  • Wear sunglasses or protective eyewear. Your skin is not the only thing vulnerable to sun damage! Protect your eyes, too!
  • Wear protective clothing. Put on a hat and light layers for increased protection.
  • Avoid tanning salons. Many use tanning salons because they think it will prevent sunburns, but they can be particularly damaging to the skin.

The more you protect your skin, the less likely you will experience the pain and damage of a burn.

How To Treat a Sunburn

Despite our best efforts, sunburns happen. In fact, one in three Americans reports getting sunburned every year.

If you do get sunburned, here are some ways you can care for your skin:

  • Apply aloe vera. It can help soothe the skin and bring down inflammation.
  • Stay out of the sun. Your skin is more vulnerable and will create even more damage if you spend time in the sun.
  • Drink plenty of water. Sunburns draw moisture away from the body, leading to dehydration. Counteract dehydration with plenty of fluids.
  • Leave skin blisters alone. Skin blisters are particularly damaged skin. Let them heal on their own.
  • Take cool showers or baths. Cool water can help both moisturize your skin and reduce inflammation.
  • Take ibuprofen or aspirin. If it is safe for you, they can help ease discomfort and lower inflammation.
  • Take a baking soda and oatmeal bath. Throw in a few tablespoons of baking soda and a cup of oatmeal oats to a cool bath and soak for 10-15 minutes. It helps soothe irritation and retain skin moisture.
  • Wear loose clothing. Tight clothing can cause more discomfort!

Most of the time, burns heal on their own. However, you may want to see a doctor if there are severe blisters over a large portion of your body. Also, red streaks and oozing pus from blisters could mean an infection that a doctor should also check. See a doctor if you have fever, chills, or confusion.

Keep yourself safe in the sun this summer - your skin will thank you for it!


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When you’re sick or injured, whether routine or urgent, quality medical care should be easy to find and available when you need it. That’s the idea behind Patient Plus Urgent Care, with convenient locations in Baton Rouge & Prairieville

Patient Plus treats most common illnesses and injuries — the sniffles, rashes, fevers, aches, breaks, and other conditions that deserve prompt treatment but aren’t serious enough to require a trip to the nearest emergency room. The clinics provide complete diagnostic services, including X-rays, EKGs, and flu and strep tests. Other services include physicals, vaccinations, and more. Patient Plus clinics are open every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and patients never need to call first or make an appointment.