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First Aid Tip: How to Treat Sunburn

Treating Sunburn
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In Australia, we love our sun and we tend to sport the tan lines to prove it. However, sunburn can hurt you in more ways than one. A sunburn from UV exposure can appear within hours and continue to develop over 1 to 3 days. Sunburn is an irreversible damage to the skin, and it is cumulative. So, every time you get sunburnt you are increasing the risk of skin cancers and melanoma.

At First Aid Kits Australia we put together First Aid tips to help you this summer keeping your skin damage-free.



There are short-term and long-term effects of sunburn.

Short-term, the body willi experience redness and discomfort, but the long-term effects of repeated bouts of sunburn can include premature wrinkling and an increased risk of skin cancer and melanoma. Five or more sunburns more than doubles your risk of developing potentially deadly melanoma, which is why preventative measures are so important.


Symptoms of severe sunburn

Here are symptoms that can help you to ascertain the severity of a sunburn:

  • dizziness and altered states of consciousness

  • fever

  • heatstroke

  • dehydration

  • infection or swelling

  • blistering and pain

  • headache

  • nausea and vomiting

If you have severe sunburn, you should seek medical attention immediately.



Sunburn treatment needs to focus on cooling down and rehydrating. Here are First Aid Kits Australia’s “First Five” steps to cooling down any sunburn:

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1. Act fast to cool it down. Move out of the sun and into the shade, or indoors, and start cooling your skin and body temperature with a cold compress or cool water. Do not use any soap as it may irritate the skin.

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2. Moisturise while skin is damp. Do not wait for your skin to dry out. This treatment needs to be about hydrating. If the sunburn is painful use a spray-on sunburn soothing application. If the sunburn is not too painful, you can use a standard moisturiser.

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3. Decrease inflammation.
Do not be scared to take anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or seek advice from your pharmacist about anti-inflammatory options.

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4. Replenish your fluids.
Drink plenty of water as being in the sun can cause dehydration.

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5. Call a doctor if blisters cover more than 20% of your body (remember – do not pop blisters!) as this means your sunburn is severe.


Just like our treatment methods, here are 5 key prevention and protection tips that are easy to remember:

  1. Slip – on sun-protective clothing (making sure it covers as much skin as possible)

  2. Slop – on SPF 30+ or higher, water-resistant sunscreen. Apply 20 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply every 2 hours.

  3. Slap – on a broad-brimmed hat to protect your face, head, neck, and ears.

  4. Seek – Shade whenever possible

  5. Slide – on some shades (looking cool)

To always be protected from sunburn, or be prepared for after-sun treatment, try our Beach First Aid Kit packed with all the essentials including Aloe Vera after sun care and Sunscreen.

If you want more First Aid Tips and reliable access to First Aid Services, even offline, download our First Aid Kits Australia APP FOR FREE today!

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