Do You Know How to Protect Your Body’s Largest Organism?

Hey moms! We’ve finally made it to the end of summer–can I get an A-MEN?! If you’re like many moms, you’re going to be pushing your kids outside to swim, play, run…do anything besides stare at a screen all day. This also means it’s time to start a serious sunscreen regimen, for your kids and yourself.  While protecting your skin might not seem that critical, it is your body’s largest organ and deserves some major attention. We sat down with Rhonda Sandel, RN – CEO at Texas Emergency Care Center, a mom to 5, to ask a few questions about how to take care of your skin.

Q: OK Rhonda, break it down for us. What exactly is sunburn?
A: Sunburn is the reddening and irritation of the skin caused from exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. These rays penetrate the skin and can cause serious damage. Besides prematurely aging your skin, sun damage lead to skin cancers like melanoma. In fact, The American Cancer Society posted an article with statistics for people effected by melanoma. According to their article, there will be approximately 96,489 new melanomas diagnosed in 2019. 

Q: How quickly can you get sunburn? And does that automatically mean your skin is “damaged?”
A: How quickly you feel the effects of sunburn really depends on skin type, the intensity of the sun or the time of day you are exposed, and the length of time you spend in the sun. Keep in mind though that no matter your skin color or type, no one is immune to sun rays. Also, you can still get “burned” from UVA and UVB rays on a cloudy day, cold day, or windy day. Just because you don’t feel HOT sun, doesn’t mean you aren’t burning your skin. 

And yes, every single sunburn damages your skin and increases the risk of skin cancer.

Q: How can you protect your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays?
A: First of all, make sure you wear sunscreen, preferably one that is water-resistant and a minimum of SPF 30. Apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. Ladies, be sure your facial moisturizer and makeup includes sunscreen in it. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, even when it’s cloudy outside. If possible, wear a long-sleeved shirt, pants and a wide-brimmed hat. Also, sunglasses are essential to protecting your eyes. Be aware when you are around water that the sun’s reflection off the water can intensify skin-damaging rays.

Q: What are the signs of sunburn?
A: You generally can tell when you are getting sunburn; your skin turns red, feels warm or hot to the touch and starts to hurt. Symptoms of severe sunburn even include swelling, blisters, fever, chills, nausea, headache and weakness. After these symptoms end, your skin may feel itchy and peel—your body’s way of getting rid of damaged skin cells.

Q: How should you treat sunburn? Can you reverse sun damage?
A: You can cool the skin by taking a cool bath or shower or applying cold compresses. There are also many creams and gels available that can help take the sting out of your sunburn. Look for ointments with ingredients like menthol, camphor and aloe. If you keep the ointment in the refrigerator, it can add extra relief. Ibuprofen or naproxen can help with swelling and pain. And be sure to stay hydrated and avoid the sun while your skin heals.

If you experience any of the following serious symptoms, seek medical care as soon as possible:

  • Fever of 102 degrees or higher
  • Chills
  • Severe pain
  • Sunburn blister that cover 20% or more of your body
  • Signs of dehydration including, dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, dizziness and fatigue

You can definitely work towards repairing skin damage cause by the sun. There are 1,000s of home remedies on the internet, but I would recommend you start with a dermatologist and let them create a plan that works best for you.

Remember, Texas Emergency Care Center is just around the corner and always open! We also offer urgent care during certain hours at our Pearland and Irving locations! 

So there it is mommas! Keep those kids (and yourself) slathered in sunscreen anytime you are outside.

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