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How to Prevent & Treat Summer Sunburns

The warmth of the sun on your skin is one of the best parts of getting outdoors in the summer – but when the warmth follows you home and you realize it has turned into a sunburn, it’s important to make sure you know how to take care of yourself and your skin.

Sunburns are caused by intense or long-lasting exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can come from both sunshine and some artificial lights. It’s important to remember that you can still get sunburned on cool or cloudy days because UV light can go through the clouds.

Sunscreen and clothing that protects against ultraviolet light are two easy ways to help prevent a sunburn anytime you are outside. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using sunscreen that has broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, is SPF 30 or higher, and is water resistant for the best results.

Sunburn symptoms, which can happen three to five hours after exposure, most commonly include pinkness or redness of the skin, pain or tenderness, and skin that feels warm to the touch. You can help relieve pain by using a damp towel to cool the skin, applying aloe vera lotion, taking a pain reliever and protecting your skin from further sun exposure.

If you need advice or are unsure how to take care of a mild to moderate sunburn, Samaritan offers online E-Visit appointments that provide quick, convenient care for sunburns and other non-urgent illnesses or injuries. A Samaritan provider will connect with you within two hours to discuss your symptoms and help you take care of your sunburn properly.

More severe sunburns can result in blisters or be accompanied by headache, fever, nausea and fatigue. If you start to notice any of the more severe symptoms, it is recommended to seek medical care in person at your doctor’s office or an urgent care office.

E-Visits are available to Samaritan patients with a MyChart account Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit to learn more or start your E-Visit today.