Stayed out in the sun too long or forgot to reapply your sunblock?

Stewie from Family Guy walking slowly with a full body sunburn

The next time you head outside on a sunny day, be prepared! Know how to recognize and treat a sunburn so you can stay safe from the sun's rays.

Symptoms Of A Sunburn

It's important to begin treating a sunburn as quickly as possible.

It may take up to 2 days for the severity of your sunburn to show, and several more days for it to heal.

Symptoms of a sunburn:

  • Redness of the skin

  • Skin that feels warm/hot to the touch

  • Pain/swelling

  • Small, fluid-filled blisters that may break

  • Eyes that feel painful/gritty

  • Headache, fever, nausea, or fatigue if sunburn is severe

When To Seek Medical Treatment

Sunburns can sometimes be very serious. Here's when you should seek help from a medical professional:

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  • The sunburn is severe — with blisters — and covers a large portion of your body

  • You've developed a skin infection, indicated by swelling, pus, or red streaks leading from the blister

  • The sunburn is accompanied by a high fever, headache, severe pain, dehydration, confusion, nausea, or chills

  • Your sunburn doesn't respond to at-home care

Home Remedies

Here are some tips to help reduce the pain and discomfort from a sunburn:

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  • Apply a lotion or gel to the area such as aloe vera or calamine lotion

  • Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration

  • Take frequent cool baths or showers

  • Don't break intact blisters

  • Treat peeling skin gently

  • Cover your skin if you have to go back outside

  • Take a pain reliever with ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin (always take any medication under a physician's guidance)


Jen got a sunburn at the beach. She doesn't have a fever, but both her arms are red and tender to the touch. What should she do?

Take Action

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Before getting some sun, remember to protect yourself:

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