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First Aid for Sunburn

A man on a beach looking sad because he is sunburnt.

The Sizzling Truth About Sunburn: A Tale of Too Much Sun and Its Aftermath

We've all been there, haven't we? Revelling in the great outdoors, basking under the sun, and suddenly realising we've cooked ourselves into a lobster-esque state of redness. Ah, the not-so-joyous aftermath of "too much fun in the sun." While soaking up the golden rays can feel heavenly, the consequences can range from mildly annoying to downright dangerous. It's as if the sun has a sneaky way of reminding us about the fine line between a healthy glow and a painful glow-up.


The Dark Side of the Sun

Sunburn might seem like a temporary inconvenience—a badge of a day well spent. But, there's a darker side to it. Beyond the redness and peeling lies a risk of more serious complications. We're talking second or third-degree burns, dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heatstroke. And let's not forget the long-term guest nobody invited: skin cancer. Yes, that seemingly innocent sunburn can triple the risk of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. It's a sobering thought that what starts as a day of fun can have lasting implications.

Heat exhaustion occurs when an individual becomes dehydrated due to fluid depletion from a hot environment and/or intense physical exertion. Heatstroke on the other hand is a life-threatening emergency and can cause a person to collapse or fall unconscious. It occurs when the body stops being able to regulate its temperature through the natural cooling mechanism of sweating. As a result, the core body temperature increases to dangerous levels, potentially leading to organ damage.


Tasmania: The Unexpected Sunburn Spot

Now, let's talk about Tasmania. This beautiful island state, known for its rugged wilderness and cooler climate, might not be the first place you'd associate with sunburn risks. But here's the twist: Tasmania gets its fair share of UV radiation, enough to make sunburn a real concern. The misconception that cooler or cloudy days are safe from UV damage is a trap many fall into. Even on overcast days, those UV rays can sneak through, turning an innocent hike into an unexpected sunburn saga.


First Aid Treatments: Your Sunburn SOS

Sunburn can vary in degrees but common signs and symptoms to look for include:

  • Red or purple skin
  • Swollen skin
  • Warm or hot skin
  • Pain or itching in the area
  • Blistering of the skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache or fever

Here's how to cool down the burn and soothe your skin back to comfort:

1. Cool Down: First things first, get out of the sun! Cool the affected area with under a cool shower, in a cool bath or sponge with cool water for 10 minutes. Repeat if it helps decrease discomfort. Avoid ice—your skin is already having a rough day.

2. Cover and Protect: Apply cool gauze padding to the burnt area. If you can't escape the sun immediately then cover the skin with loose, breathable clothing.

2. Hydration Station: Drink plenty of water. Sunburn can dehydrate your body, so replenishing fluids is crucial.

4. Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help ease the discomfort. Just make sure it's something you're already okay to take.

5. Seek help if needed: Seek medical assistance for infants and casualties with blisters. And whatever you do, do NOT pop blisters!


First Aid Treatments: Heatstroke help

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are both forms of heat-related illnesses, but they differ significantly in severity and symptoms. Heat exhaustion is an early stage of heat-related illness that occurs from prolonged exposure to high temperatures, often in combination with dehydration. It manifests through symptoms such as heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, dizziness, and nausea. 

On the other hand, heatstroke is a more severe, life-threatening condition that happens when the body loses its ability to cool down. It stops sweating, leading to a rapid increase in body temperature, which can quickly escalate to 40°C or higher. This critical condition can cause confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness, and requires immediate medical attention to prevent permanent organ damage or death.

So remember if a patient has heat exhaustion they will be sweating heavily, BUT if their temperature increases to 40°C or higher and their sweating decreases then seek help immediately!

Treatment of heat exhaustion 

  1. Help the person to lie down in a cool or shady area to monitor.
  2. Remove excessive clothing and loosen any tight clothing.
  3. Cool the patient's skin by placing their hands and feet in cold water and by fanning them with cool air. 
  4. If fully alert and responsive, give them frequent small drinks of water.
  5. If muscle cramps occur, gently stretch the affected muscles to ease pain.
  6. Monitor the patient's temperature. 

Treatment of heatstroke

  1. Immediately call 000 for an ambulance.
  2. If available, have the person take a cold shower or bath.
  3. Cool the person with household items such as wet towels, fans or icepacks placed in the neck, groin and armpits.
  4. If unresponsive or not alert, place in the recovery position.
  5. Prepare to give CPR if necessary.
retail first aid shop

Being prepared with a well-stocked first aid kit, ass well as being trained in CPR is one of the best things you can do to help your loved one in the even of an emergency.

Come into our store in Moonah, Mowbray or Devonport and one of our expert staff can assist you with what you need to keep safe in any situation.