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What is sunburn

Sunburn is a visible skin reaction to excessive ultravioletradiation which is invisible and is contained in the sunlight. The damage toskin may be visible or invisible and it leads to aging and skin cancer.Excessive exposure to sunlight is the main cause of skin cancer in most cases.Sunburns occurs commonly while visiting a beach or just being out exposed tosunlight. In some cases sunburns can disable a person a cause significantdiscomfort. Children are especially prone to sunburns since they spend a lotof time playing outside. Persons who have freckles, moles and fair skin areusually a lot more likely to develop skin cancer.

The ultraviolet radiation ismost excessive in the summer when the sun is positioned directly overhead. Ofall three types of ultraviolet rays only the first two reach the earth. Therays that cause the damage to human skin belong in the UV-B group. It has onlyrecently been discovered that even UV-A rays can also cause certain damage tothe skin.


Sunburns are usually characterized by red, painful areas onthe skin. In severe cases even blisters and swelling may occur. Some othersymptoms of sunburns include weakness, shock, chills and fever. The symptomsusually kick in about an hour after being exposed to the radiation and theyreach the peak the day after. Itching and peeling of the skin is common afterseveral days. Mild cases only result in irritated and red skin, while excessiveexposure can cause poor circulation, shock, severe pain and in some cases itcan even be fatal. Some rare severe cases of sunburns have also caused massivedehydration, skin infections and a disrupted electrolyte balance. Persons whogo into shock after suffering a sunburn should seek immediate medical attentionbecause sever weakness fainting and low blood usually occurs.

Treating and preventing sunburn

The intensity of the sun is affected by various parameterswhich include altitude, latitude, season, time of day and possible reflections.In order to be protected from the ultraviolet radiation one should wear hats,long sleeved clothes and perhaps use an umbrella. One can also purchase asunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher and avoid any outdooractivities that take place during the peak hours of ultraviolet radiationexposure. If a person indulges in swimming, the sunscreen must be reappliedeven if the manufacturer claims that it is water resistant. Certain types ofclothes that are tightly woven or knitted and have a darker color can also beprotective. Children should especially use sunscreen half an hour before goingout to play.

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