Adults should make sure that children wear suitable clothing and that they keep this on while playing. An unsupervised child in a park or on a beach can quickly shed a hat and other clothes as they play.
✓ Children have particularly sensitive skin. Remember the effects of solar radiation are cumulative You should frequently apply high protection factor sunscreen to them, and plan to take them to indoor activities on high sun strength days.
✓ Babies under a year old should be kept out of and protected from direct and reflected sunlight and radiation.
People who are on certain medication such as diuretics, and people with some skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis (which in non-medical terms means you have a weak skin), need to take extra care to avoid the effects of UV radiation.
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As a final thought, remember that a tan’ is just a visible symptom of damaged skin. Healthy skin is the colour of your skin where the sun doesn’t shine’. The bigger the difference between your pink bits’ and your tanned skin, the greater the damage your skin has already sustained.
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Just like a burn from scalding water or fire, sunburn can be serious, though it develops gradually. It can range from slightly coloured skin to severe pain with blisters and swelling. Treating sunburn is common sense, with a golden rule of seek medical assistance if at all in doubt’.
Sunburn treatment – countermeasures
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• First, remove the patient from the sun and take them to a clean cool place.
• For mild sunburn, take the heat out of the skin. Take a cold or cool shower. If a cold bath or shower is not possible, put a clean, cold, wet cloth over the affected areas, and allow a fan to blow air over the cloth to evaporate the water and cool the patient.
If necessary, the patient can be given Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter painkillers, as long as they are not allergic to them or taking any other medication at the same time. If in doubt, seek medical advice.
Commercial products are widely available to treat sunburned skin. Look for calamine lotion and aloe vera. Whatever treatment you use, never use anything that feels greasy, because grease traps heat, reflecting heat back into your skin and making the burn worse.
• If blistering develops, the skin will probably break, leaving a wound through which infection could enter the body.
Keep sunburned skin clean.
Avoid any hot baths and showers – the heat will add to the damage and discomfort.
Avoid infection by making sure that anyone treating the sunburn patient thoroughly washes their hands.
If blisters do form, never burst them deliberately.