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Serious Sunburns

 Sunburn is never pleasant. For two boys in Oklahoma though, it was downright painful. The five and seven year olds suffered second degree burns after being to a water park for a full day without sunscreen. The day care that was looking after the pair is now under investigation, and Brad Wiggins, RN, the nurse manager for University of Utah Health Burn Center says there is an important lesson for all of us in this story. "Sun management throughout the year is an important and needed focus for all families," he says. "Make sunscreen application part of your daily preparation of every day."

In most cases sunburn can, and should, be treated at home with over the counter pain medications and rest. You should never cool a burned area with ice or cold compresses as it limits the circulation to the burn site and can prolong healing. Staying hydrated, cleaning the wound with soap and water and using your basic OTC medication of acetaminophen or Ibuprofen should manage the issues within a few days.

The University of Utah Burn Center Outpatient Center can be a great help when needing medical treatment for a severe sunburn. "Large fluid filled blisters are an indication of a second degree burn and should be removed and managed by burn experts," says Wiggins. "Blisters do provide a natural "band aid" for the patient but will ultimately heal faster if removed and managed with proper medical care."

Wiggins reiterates the best way to treat sunburn is to avoid it. "All age groups are at risk of skin damage and it is easily managed with the use of sunscreen, hats, or sun protective clothing," he says. "Keep sunscreen with you at all times. Keep a tube on in the bathroom for morning application after you brush your teeth. Keep a tube in the car or boat and ensure that you are reapplying frequently after spending 30 minutes in the water or sweating a large amount."