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8 Ways to Treat Sunburn at Home

Home remedies for sunburn

Summer’s here, and that means it’s time to head outside and soak up the sun. However, along with the all those hours spent outdoors during the summer season, there usually comes one inevitable thing: sunburn. Fortunately, for all of us, there are plenty of household items you can use to cool the burning, itching, and peeling that come with damage from the sun.

Keep reading to learn about home remedies that can help heal and soothe your skin.

Cool water

Sunburn, basically, is inflammation of the skin. One of the easiest ways to treat inflammation is to cool down the affected area. An effective way to immediately help sunburn, even while you are still outside, is to hop in the water, whether it is an ocean, lake, or stream. Dipping in and out throughout the day can help keep sunburn from worsening. Be wary of pools, as chlorinated water can irritate the skin more. You should also avoid directly applying ice. Although it may look appealing when your skin is burning, it could actually cause even more damage to your extra-sensitive sunburned skin.

You can also try hopping in the bath to help cool and soothe your skin.

Baking soda and oatmeal

Throwing a few heaping tablespoons of baking soda into a bathtub full of cool water and soaking for about 15 to 20 minutes helps minimize sun damage. Adding a cup of oats to the bath also soothes irritation and helps the skin retain its natural moisture.

Do not scrub your skin, either in the bath or after getting out. Dab yourself dry with a towel — do not rub.

Aloe vera

If you do not have an aloe vera plant in your house, you should get one. The gel inside this succulent plant has been used for centuries for all sorts of ailments, from upset stomachs to kidney infections. It is also the sunburn relief most commonly found over the counter.

Breaking off a chunk of the plant and applying the gel directly to the skin provides immediate, soothing relief from the sting of minor sunburn. If you can’t get your hands on a plant, try a 100 percent aloe vera gel (not an aloe-based lotion or ointment). You can find these gels in most pharmacies.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea can be soothing to your spirit, but it can also soothe your sunburned skin. Brew the tea as you normally would and let it cool. When it is ready, soak a washcloth in it and apply it to the affected area.

If you are allergic to pollen, you should not use this treatment. It may cause an allergic reaction in your skin.


Opinions are mixed about using vinegar for sunburn relief. Some say adding two cups of vinegar to cool bath water can help take the sting out of burn, while others say the high acidity in vinegar only makes things worse. If you haven’t used the treatment before on smaller, lighter sunburns, it’s best not to try it for larger, more serious burns.

Wear loose clothing

As your skin is repairing itself, make sure to wear clothing that doesn’t stick to your skin. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it’s best to give it some room to breathe as it heals from a major traumatic episode like sunburn. Natural fibers, such as cotton or bamboo, make for the best post-sunburn coverings.

Drink lots of water

As your skin is battling the damage from the sun’s rays, it needs moisture that it lost during your time out in the sun. If you aren’t already drinking your eight glasses of water a day, a nasty sunburn should be reason enough to get you to start doing so.

Don’t forget the moisturizer

After the initial treatment, you skin will still need some tender loving care. One of the most important things you can do to prevent skin from peeling — or at least keep it to a minimum — is to regularly apply moisturizer to the affected areas. Use scent- and dye-free moisturizer (marketed for “sensitive skin”) to keep skin irritation to a minimum.

Get more information

Stay hydrated, keep cool, and if the sunburn is too painful, you can take some ibuprofen. You should also make sure you stay covered up next time you go outside so your sunburn isn’t exposed to even more sun. Call your clinician or visit ExpressCare if a sunburn causes you to have a fever or if you are showing signs of dehydration.

And remember, the easiest way to treat sunburn is to avoid it.



Diagnosing and Treating Heat Rash

Heat rash, or prickly heat, develops when sweat ducts become blocked. More often than not, the infected area is an area that is covered by clothing.

Identifying a Heat Rash

Typically, a heat rash doesn’t require medical attention. If you suspect you may have a heat rash, watch for the following symptoms:

  • Red dots on head, neck and shoulders
  • Itching
  • Increased swelling in some areas

If the heat rash doesn’t go away within three to four days or symptoms worsen, medical attention might be necessary.

How Do I Treat Heat Rash?

Most heat rashes heal on their own. The following suggestions can help relieve symptoms:

  • Wear loose clothing
  • Sit in cool, shady spots
  • Let your skin air dry until heat rash heals
  • Use calamine lotion to soothe itching
  • Avoid ointments other than calamine lotion because they might increase irritation

What is Hay Fever?


What is Hay Fever?

Hay fever is an allergic reaction that occurs in the late summer and early fall. Symptoms include itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and fatigue. These symptoms can be accompanied by cough and wheezing.

The name “Hay fever” originates from symptoms that occur during the time of year when farmers harvest and bale hay. This is typically in the late summer and early fall. The name “Hay fever” is a misnomer in that baled hay is usually not the cause of symptoms. Instead, plants that pollinate during the hay baling season are the culprits. These plants are weeds including Ragweed and Mugwort. These weeds use the wind for pollination. Their pollen grains become airborne and can travel for many miles. These pollen grains induce allergic symptoms when they come in contact with a person’s eyes, nose, or lungs.

How do I know if I have Hay fever?

You may have Hay fever if your allergic symptoms worsen during the months of August, September, and October. Symptoms improve after the first hard frost of the year. The diagnosis can be confirmed by an allergist by performing allergy tests that identify sensitivity to weed pollens.

What can I do about my Hay fever?

Symptoms are reduced by minimizing time outdoors. Windows in your house should be closed. Air conditioning is helpful and can remove pollen particles from indoor air. Over the counter antihistamines can treat the majority of symptoms. Symptoms of cough and wheezing are more concerning and should be addressed by a doctor. Patients whose symptoms are not relieved by medications may benefit from allergen immunotherapy or “allergy shots”. Immunotherapy reduces the body’s allergic response to allergens and can be a cure for many patients.

Hot Days and Diabetes

Diabetes can be challenging to control on a day with comfortable temperatures, but as the temperatures and humidity rise, it can be downright dangerous if the body gets dehydrated. The quick loss of fluid can increase thirst, decrease urine output, result in dark urine, dizziness, excessive sweating, muscle cramping, cool/clammy skin, nausea and vomiting headaches and rapid heartbeat. If left untreated severe dehydration causes confusion, weakness, organ failure and coma.

Those with high blood glucose (sugar) to begin with are more likely to see even higher numbers as the blood becomes more concentrated.


Drink extra non calorie, preferable decaffeinated fluids like water and non calorie flavored seltzer or water throughout the day. Avoid sweetened drinks and large amounts of caffeine! These can be more dehydrating.

Check blood glucose (sugar) numbers more often.

Avoid exercise and strenuous activity in hot weather. Do chores in the morning or later evening as temperatures cool.

Recognize the symptoms of dehydration and act quickly. Delayed treatment can difficult to treat.

Should fever, nausea and vomiting occur it is important to treat as soon as possible. Medications can be given to control symptoms. Drink small, frequent amounts of clear liquids (apple juice, regular gingerale, regular Jell-O, clear soups are all examples of fluids that replace the carbohydrates normally supplied by food)

Emergency services should be called if extreme tiredness, confusion, uncontrolled fever, nausea and vomiting can’t be controlled. Call immediately if seizures occur.


Just as the body struggles with hot temperatures, glucose meters, strips and insulin should be protected from the high heat. All products need to be stored in a cooler with an ice pack if in a hot car.

Insulin that is being used can be kept at room temperature for 28 to 42 days (depending upon the product) from when it is opened. If the location is hotter than room temperature, then instead store in a cooler or refrigerator.


Brought to you by the Diabetes Educators –

Joan Hultgren RD LDN CDE; Kelly Sinclair MS RD LDN CDE ; Marcia Sikorski RD LDN CDE


Staying Safe in the Summer Sun!

When the temperatures rise and we are exposed to extreme heat and humidity, our bodies lose the ability to cool themselves down. This may lead to dehydration and heat-related illness. Heat-related illness includes:

heat cramps

painful cramps, muscle spasms and sweating

Treat with hydration, seeking a cool environment and halting any strenuous activity.

heat exhaustion

heavy sweating, nausea, weakness or dizziness, muscle cramping

Treat by getting into a cooler environment with a fan if available, remove bulky or tight clothing, utilize cool compresses or spray cool mist on skin and hydrate.

heat stroke

sweating may or not occur at this point because of significant dehydration; altered mental status

This is a medical emergency and the affected person must be taken to the hospital immediately. Call 911.

Extreme heat tips

  • Always use protective sunblock.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. If you are working outside, drink 2-4 glasses of cool water every hour. Avoid alcohol and sugary drinks.
  • Seek shade or cooler areas if you start to get hot.
  • Wear lightweight, light colored , loose fitting clothing.
  • Limit your outdoor activity and sun exposure.
  • Remember never leave a child or a pet in a parked car! It takes less than 2 minutes for a car’s temperature to rise to an unsafe level.

People at greater risk for heat-related illness are:

  • infants/young children and the elderly
  • people with high blood pressure, heart disease or a fever
  • people with obesity
  • people with mental illness
  • people who use drugs and alcohol

Summer Safety Tips for Families

Summer is almost here! Playing outside, riding bikes, trips to the playground, beach, and/or pool should be fun and not cause for stress or worry! To keep your summer fun and safe, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics worth sharing.


They are everywhere! Ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, wasps/bees- UGH! Avoiding them can be tricky but avoiding areas where they may be—such as stagnant pools of water, tall grassy areas near woods, and not being out in the early morning and early evening can limit our exposure. Not using scented soaps, perfumes, and hair sprays on your child and not dressing them with bright colors can limit bugs from being attracted to your kids. DEET containing bug repellent products can be used on children older than 2 months of age—including up to 30% DEET. 30% DEET protects for a longer period of time (5hr) than 10% DEET (2hr). DEET is safe as long as it is not put in the mouth or eyes and washed off when your child comes inside. It can protect your child from not only mosquito bites but ticks as well. Ticks can carry Lyme disease and mosquitoes can carry infections like Wet Nile, Dengue Fever and EEE. Never use the combined bug and sun products—as sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hours, but bug repellents should not.


To prevent a trip to the Emergency Department, ensuring the playground is safe is a must!

  • Ideally, the playground area should have at least 9-inches of sand or wood chips/bark or 6-inches of shredded rubber underneath the equipment and 6 ft in all directions around the equipment.
  • Check for protruding bolts/nails or open “S” hooks which can lead to injuries.
  • Make sure your child cannot reach any moving part that might pinch or trap any body part.
  • Check to make sure the slide or bars or seats are not too hot—this can cause burns.
  • NEVER attach ropes, jump ropes, leashes or other similar items to playground equipment—children can get rope burns or strangle themselves.
  • Make sure your child wears shoes to prevent tripping or injuries to their feet!
  • ALWAYS supervise your child.
  • Many injuries occur when children play on a trampoline—if you have one ensure only one child jumps at a time and that the trampoline is enclosed.

Bike Safety

Always make sure your child—at any age and any place—wears a helmet! A helmet should have a sticker that says it meets the CPSC safety standard and fit properly—it should be snug on the head and worn level on the head to cover the forehead and not tipped backwards or forwards. The strap should be fastened with about 2 fingers able to fit between the chin and the strap. AND, if your child does fall and the helmet hits the ground, it needs to be replaced. Also the bike should fit the child—an over-sized bike can be dangerous and lead to injuries.

Skateboard, Scooter, Heelys Safety

Not only are helmets (that meet ASTM safety standards) needed but so are protective wrist, elbow, and knee pads. Children should use skateboarding parks and avoid riding in streets or using homemade ramps and jumps. Also, ensure your child rides alone on the skateboard/scooter/heelys and is not being pulled by someone—this can lead to falls and broken bones!


Can be beautiful to see, but can result in severe burns and scars—even sparklers! It is best to attend community firework displays run by professionals and NOT use fireworks at home.


Always ensure your child has sunscreen (even on cloudy days!) with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. It should be applied liberally and reapplied every 2 hours OR after swimming or sweating. Eyes can also be “sunburned” so wearing sunglasses that protect against UVA and UBV rays—especially if at the beach or if your child is very light skinned- is a must!

Water Safety

NEVER leave your child alone near water (any pool, spa, beach, river, pond)—not even for a moment. NO ONE should swim alone—not even an experienced older teen. Inflatable swimming aids are not safe and should not be used as a substitute for an approved life vest. Swim lessons can help, but do not make your child “drown-proof”. If you have a pool of any kind, check out for tips to keep you and your child safe while enjoying the pool! If you go to a beach or public pool, never let your child swim unless there is a lifeguard (or an adult who knows about water rescue) present. For more water safety tips, visit