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Sunburn (cont.)

Sunburn Medical Treatment

The medical treatment for sunburn is similar to the home remedies. They are all designed to decrease inflammation and pain.

  • If the patient's case is mild and not life-threatening, the doctor may suggest plenty of fluids, aspirin, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).
  • Additional topical measures such as cool compresses, Burow's solution soaks, or high-quality moisturizing creams and lotions may be recommended.
  • If the patient's case is severe enough, oral steroid therapy (cortisone-like medications) may be prescribed for several days. Steroid creams placed on the skin show minimal to no benefit for sunburn, but may be helpful for sun rash. Consult a physician.
  • Stronger pain-relieving medication may be prescribed in certain cases.
  • If the patient has blistering, steroids may be withheld to avoid an increased risk of infection. If the patient is dehydrated or suffering from heat stress, IV fluids will be given, and the person may be admitted to the hospital. People with very severe cases may be transferred to a hospital burn unit.
  • Silver sulfadiazine (1% cream, Thermazene) can be used for treatment of sunburn. Do not use on the face.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/15/2014

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Sunburn (Sun Poisoning):

Bad Sunburn - Experience

Have you ever experienced a really bad sunburn? What was it like?

Sunburn - Treatment

What treatment do you use for sunburn relief?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Sunburn »

Sunburn is an acute cutaneous inflammatory reaction that follows excessive exposure of the skin to ultraviolet radiation (UVR).

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary