Sunburn is a problem encountered by many of us and depending on the geographical location, persons intrinsic factors, duration of exposure…etc the severity of the sunburn can vary and can be categorized as 1st degree, 2nd degree or else as a third degree burn. But, most of our experiences are with 1st degree burns which mostly affect the superficial layers of the skin.
When considering how such burns can take place, the underlying cause would be the ultraviolet radiation rather than the heat generated from the sun’s rays itself. These radiations known as UVA and UVB both will induce damage to the skin and this would manifest as sunburns. The burns which show signs of swelling would most likely be a second degree burn as it should involve the layers beneath the superficial layer and can accompany other signs such as blistering, extreme redness as well as tenderness.
The basic rules governing the treatment of sunburns is to allow the heat to dissipate from the skin to the outside environment and to avoid further insults such as continued heat, friction, extreme hotness or cold as well as pressure.
At the same time, methods to improve the immune status, nutritional status as well as hydration will also contribute, more so in preventing the occurrence of major sunburn than in acute management. Let us discuss some of the measures that can be used in order to reduce swelling associated with a sunburn.
-DO NOT apply oils or creams on the surface of the skin as this can prevent the heat from being transmitted to the outside environment.
-Apply cold compresses from time to time to cool the area down and this would be more useful at the initial stages of the burn rather than the latter stages.
-Apply cooling agents such as aloe Vera in order to soothe the skin and the bring relief from the associated pain.
-Elevate the area while sleeping in case it involves the legs or the hands.
-Wear loose clothing during the time of healing to reduce the friction as well as to allow ventilation to the overlying skin.
-Take pain relievers which are also anti-inflammatory in nature as it can have greater effect in case if an inflammation has set in.
-Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated as well as high protein diets in order to replenish the needs in repairing the damaged skin.
-If there is blisters present, DO NOT rupture those as it can get infected.
-Seek medical attention if the swelling persist or if there are other associated signs such as continuous pain, redness, fever, evidence of pus collection or else the blisters are of large size.