Preventing and treating sunburns

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Sunburns are painful and some are serious enough to send kids to the hospital.

Dr. Shannon Cohen from East Tennessee Children’s Hospital stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to talk about what you can do prevent and treat your child’s sunburns.

How quickly can a sunburn happen?

Within 15 minutes of being in sun, you can get sunburned … but redness and discomfort may not be noticed for hours. Even one blistering burn can double a child’s lifetime risk of melanoma.

How do you tell the difference between a mild sunburn versus a severe one?

Mild sunburn symptoms include skin redness and warmth, pain and itchiness. A severe sunburn may have skin redness and blistering, pain and tingling, swelling, headache, nausea, fever and chills and dizziness.

If a child gets a sunburn, what do you need to do?

Remove the child from the sun right away. Place the child in a cool, not cold, shower or bath. A cool compress can help as well. Give extra fluids for the next 2 to 3 days. Give your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen for pain. Use moisturizing creams or aloe gel to provide comfort. Stay out of the sun until completely healed.

When do you need to take a child to the emergency room for a sunburn?

If a sunburn forms blisters or is extremely painful or if the sunburn covers a large area. Other signs you should visit the ER include if your child has a fever or chills, headache, confusion, or a feeling of faintness. If you see signs of dehydration, an increased thirst or dry eyes and mouth, a visit might also be needed.

What are some tips for prevention?

Keep babies 6 months and younger out of the sun. Always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen and reapply often. Minimize sun exposure from 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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