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WHEN TO TAKE YOUR CHILD TO THE DOCTOR FOR SUNBURN

BoySittingOutInSunOnBeach

Whether your kids spent a few hours at the neighborhood pool or took a day trip to the beach, sunburns are a likely occurrence in coastal Wilmington, NC.

Like any other kind of burn, sunburns range in severity, including…
● common first degree burns,
● more serious second degree burns,
● and rare, severe third degree burns.
As your child's sunburn approaches the second or third degree, it is a good idea to give your
pediatric doctor a call. But how can you tell the difference between a severe sunburn and a
common, less serious one?

SUNBURN SYMPTOMS
Typical sunburn symptoms can include…
● red (often warm) skin,
● painful or sensitive skin,
● irritated, itchy, or tingling skin,
● blisters,
● and, sometimes, fever or chills.

WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR?
Bring your child to your pediatrician if you notice any of the following symptoms in your child:
● extremely painful blisters
● yellow discharge from blisters
● skin swelling (especially in the face)
● sunburn covering a large area of the body
● persistent fever or chills
● extra lethargic behavior
● nausea and vomiting
● severe dizziness
● confusion, headache, or faint feeling
● signs of dehydration (like excessive thirst, decreased urine, and dry mouth/eyes)
Is your child experiencing any of these symptoms? Schedule an appointment with your
pediatrician now.


POSSIBLE SUNBURN COMPLICATIONS
If not addressed properly, severe sunburns can cause certain health complications listed below.
● BLISTERS & INFECTION: If your child experiences a second or third degree burn, they
may form blisters – small, fluid-filled sacs – on their burnt skin. Generally, the blisters
burst within 2 or 3 days and heal within a couple of weeks. To prevent an infection, avoid
popping the blisters and keep the blistered skin clean and dry.
● SUN POISONING: A common term used to describe a severe sunburn (red, painful skin
with swelling blisters and fever/chills), sun poisoning can also refer to a rash people get if
they are sensitive to the sun. Called polymorphous light eruption, the rash can appear in
patches similar to eczema, target-shaped lesions, or tiny, red dots across the skin.
● HEAT STRESS/EXHAUSTION: When your child is dehydrated and their core body
temperature rises due to sun exposure, they are at risk for heat stress (or heat
exhaustion) – whether or not a child's skin appears burnt. If your child experiences
nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, or weakness and if their skin is pale and
clammy, get them out of the heat immediately and seek medical attention.

HOW TO TREAT A SUNBURN
Although there are things you can do to ease your child's discomfort when they have a bad
sunburn, there is nothing anyone can do to reverse the UV damage to your child's DNA and
structures in the burnt skin.
So, when we talk about sunburn treatment, we're providing methods of making your child as
comfortable as possible. Here's what your child can do:
● Take a cool (not hot or cold) bath or shower.
● Apply cool, wet towels to the burnt skin.
● Use aloe vera gel and moisturizing aloe vera lotions.
● Avoid lotions with benzocaine.
● Drink plenty of extra fluids to rehydrate for the next few days.
● Take pain relievers (acetaminophen or ibuprofen) as instructed/needed.
● Stay out of the sun as much as possible. If an outdoor trip is necessary, wear protective
clothing and a hat.
● Take an oral antihistamine and topical moisturizers once the burn starts to peel and itch.
For more severe sunburns, stronger prescription medications, burn creams, or corticosteroids
(on rare occasions) may be required to combat the pain. Of course, you'll need a doctor's
prescription to get any of these medications.
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Wilmington Office

Address:
715 Medical Center Drive
Wilmington, NC  28401

Phone: (910)763-2476
FAX: (910)763-8176

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Address:
16747 US HWY 17N, Suite 114 Hampstead, NC  28443

Phone: (910) 777-2013
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