When the sun is high and the weather is right, there’s nothing like heading to the beach and soaking up the sunshine. Americans love heading to coastal states and soaking up the sun’s rays. It’s estimated that some 180 million Americans make two billion annual visits to the ocean and that’s to say nothing of folks who visit oceans instead of lakes.
It’s easy to see why. After all, there are many benefits of sunshine:
- It boosts the body’s production of Vitamin D
- It improves brain function
- It helps protect against inflammation
- It helps fight high blood pressure
- It can help protect against cancer
- It can boost your mood
- It can improve the quality of your sleep
It’s clear that many people love sunshine and sunlight, but what a lot of people may not enjoy are sunburns. Unprotected skin can take damage from the sun in as little as 15 minutes and more than one in three Americans has reported getting sunburned each year.
If you’ve been sunburned, you know the symptoms: the feeling of heat radiating off your skin, the pain when you touch an affected area, redness, swelling, blisters (if the sunburns are severe enough) and maybe even headache or fatigue.
For people that have experienced more than a few sunburns before, you know that there are any number of “tried-and-true” home remedies. From using cool water to ice to oatmeal baths to using lotions with aloe vera, everyone seems to have their own sunburn treatment.
But what happens when a sunburn is more severe? What happens when you fall asleep in the sun or simply forget to reapply sunscreen when you’re having too much fun? You suffer a severe sunburn that’s going to take more than a few home remedies to treat. When that happens, it’s best to get yourself to one of your local urgent care clinics.
For those unfamiliar, urgent cares are walk-in clinics where patients can get treated for a long list of non-life-threatening illnesses and ailments. Believe it or not, you can get treated for everything from back pain to the flu to common colds to food poisoning to sports injuries, just to name a few things.
Sunburns are also on that list. Before you go out in the sun, you should know that young children and older folks are more sensitive to sunlight and some medications can also make people more sensitive to sunlight. So how do you know when your sunburn is bad enough to warrant an urgent care trip? Look for these telltale signs:
- Blisters that have formed due to sunburn and gotten infected
- Severe pain
- Nausea and chills
- Problems with your vision
Since urgent cares are open longer—usually until 7 p.m. or later—and you check-in to reserve a spot in line online, you can get in to see a doctor quickly and get treatment quickly. Should you visit an urgent care for sunburn treatment, you may be given special pain medication such as steroids and even IV injections in order to make your body more hydrated. Ultimately, health care professionals at an urgent care can assess the severity of your burns and then recommend the best treatment plan. That treatment plan will likely include soaking your sunburned area in cool water, drinking plenty of fluids and applying cream to prevent infection (or to battle an existing infection).
If you’ve been beaten down by the sun in the form of severe blisters and unbearable pain, don’t hesitate to go to the ER or call 911. The worst thing you can do is to try and “wait it out” while your symptoms don’t improve. But if your symptoms are less severe, visit an urgent care. You’ll get an effective treatment plan to treat your sunburn and you’ll be able to get in and out, saving yourself some time, some money and the tediousness of having to sit all afternoon to be seen by a doctor. More than three million Americans visit urgent cares every week with a variety of symptoms and if you’ve been sunburned, an urgent care visit is your best bet.