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HealthInfo Canterbury

Summer safety

Sunburn

The best approach to sunburn is to avoid it. You'll find tips for avoiding sunburn on the Sun-smart behaviour page.

However, if you have spent too long in the sun there are some things you can do to relieve the pain. You should stay out of the sun until your the pain and skin redness go away. You can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (often called NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen to relieve pain. These are especially helpful if you take them as soon as the pain starts but they are less helpful after 24 hours. You still need to be careful going in the sun afterwards. Also make sure you drink lots of non-alcoholic fluid to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Several products are advertised to relieve the pain of mild sunburn. These include cool compresses, aloe-based lotions, and unfragranced moisturisers. We don't have proof that these products help, but they are also not likely to hurt. They don't reduce the long-term risks of sunburn, like getting skin cancer.

You can find more information on sunburn on DermNet NZ.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Food poisoning

Heat exhaustion and heatstroke

Insect bites

Water safety

See also:

Bites & stings

Diarrhoea and vomiting in children

Diarrhoea and vomiting (gastroenteritis)

Skin cancer

In this section

Sun safety, sun tanning, sunbeds

Sun-smart behaviour

Page reference: 84488

Review key: HISUM-84488