UV Safety – The Sun Can Burn You!
Summers in most of Texas can be harsh, not only because of the high temperatures but also because of the intense sun rays. UV safety is a matter to not take lightly.
Unless we use the right protection, we risk getting sunburned. In fact, while rare, severe sunburn can be life-threating.
What is a Sunburn?
Unless you take UV safety precautions, you will risk getting a sunburn. Extreme ultraviolet (UV) exposure can cause severe damage to our skin; this is what we know as sunburn.
It only takes 10 minutes of intense UV exposure for our skin to deploy its defense mechanism to try and defend itself.
The first hint that something is not right, is redness. Then your skin will start feeling tight; this is as a response of it losing its moisture and hydration. Then slowly, the cells will begin to thicken, and your body will start to produce melanin (skin pigment) to try and stop the UV rays from penetrating the deeper layers of the skin and causing damage to the cell’s DNA.
Most sunburn episodes are short-lived and mild, but you should still try to prevent them as they can increase your chances of developing skin cancer later in life.
Who is at Risk of Sunburn?
Anyone who is out in the sun for extended times or when the UV index is high is at risk of getting sunburned. However, some people are more vulnerable than others. UV safety is particularly vital in the following cases:
- Fair Skin People. The lighter your skin color is, the more vulnerable you are to sunburns
- Children and the Elderly. Infants and children under 6, as well as adults over 60, have a higher risk of sunburn
- People Taking Certain Medications. Some medications can increase your sensitivity to sun rays. You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist about any medicines you are taking before you go out in the sun.
- Anyone with a Skin Condition. People with psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, and other skin conditions may need to take extra precautions to avoid sunburns.
Know Where to Go in Case of an Emergency.
How to Know When a Sunburn Could Be Serious
Most sunburns don’t need medical attention, but in some cases, when the burns are very severe, you will need to come into the nearest Altus Emergency Center to receive treatment.
Here is when it’s time to seek care for your sunburn.
Sun poisoning is a serious sunburn allergic reaction that causes skin inflammation. Aside from the bumps on your skin, you may also experience pain, itching, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances.
If not treated correctly, sun poisoning could lead to life-threatening infection and shock. So, if you think you or someone you know is experiencing sun poisoning, you need to come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center to be evaluated and treated.
You’ve Developed a Skin Infection
Many sunburns are severe enough that they cause blisters. Most times, these only require a topical cream to heal; however, in some cases, the blisters can become infected.
You can tell you have a skin infection if you notice swelling, pus or red streaks leading from the blister. In this case, you will likely need antibiotics to treat the infection, which means you see your doctor or come to the nearest Altus Emergency Center.
Beyond UV Safety. Preventing Sunburns and other Sun-Related Injuries
Summer is supposed to be a fun time for everyone, with lots of outdoor activities. To make sure you avoid the risks of sunburns the doctors at Altus Emergency Centers recommend:
- You apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out in the sun
- Reapply sunscreen every 2-hours
- Drink plenty of water
- Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm when possible
At Altus Emergency Centers, we are always open to treat any emergency. Remember if you use our online check-in form, we will be waiting for you at the door.
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