Wellness Wednesday: Don’t Get Burned! How to Protect Your Body From Sun Damage

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Sunburn doesn’t just cause pain and redness. It can also cause long-term effects. Learn the risks and find out how to protect yourself.

The Dangers of Sunburn

The sun’s rays contain two types of ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet A (UVA) causes tanning, aging skin, and wrinkles. Ultraviolet B (UVB) causes sunburn. Both can cause skin cancer. You can burn on sunny days, cloudy days, and cold days. The white sand on the beach and the white snow of winter both reflect the sun’s rays. You can burn whether you’re skiing on water or snow.

Signs of sunburn are redness and pain. You may also have swelling and blistering. A bad sunburn can lead to heatstroke and dehydration.

Preventing Sunburn

Follow these prevention tips:

  • Use only water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen. It should protect against both UVA and UVB and have a SPF of at least 15. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing when possible. Always include a hat and sunglasses.
  • Keep children in the shade and in protective clothing. Follow the same sunscreen rules for them that you would for yourself. Don’t use sunscreen on children younger than 6 months old. They should be kept out of the sun. If a child under age 1 gets sunburn, call your pediatrician right away. Also seek emergency care if a child of any age has a sunburn with fever, blistering, severe pain, lethargy.
  • Be aware that water, snow, and sand all reflect UV rays and increase your chances for sunburn.


Cool wet compresses, soothing lotions, and cool baths may help relieve minor sunburn pain. Drink plenty of fluids. For serious burns, call your doctor right way. Medication may prevent infection and help with the swelling and pain.


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