First Aid for Sunburns - Toronto First Aid Courses | Certification

Sun Burn First Aid Heat Stroke

Sunburns are caused by extensive exposure of the skin to sunlight or tanning lights. A person can get a sunburn on a sunny or a cloudy day and it’s even possible to get burnt when it’s snowing. It can be an extremely painful condition that can range from mild to severe. Most cases aren’t serious enough to warrant medical aid but there are some severe cases where the burn is bad enough that common home remedies won’t help and the person must visit a physician.

Symptoms of Sunburn

The three symptoms of sunburn include the following:

  • Red skin
  • Pain
  • Blistering

Sunburn First-Aid Treatments

The first thing to do when you encounter someone that has a sunburn is to get them out of the sun, either moving inside or into the shade. If this is impossible then the individual should be covered with a hat and lightweight clothing. Offer the person water and suggest that they take small sips of it. The heat from the sun may lead to dehydration, so it is important to be drinking water while in the sun, and even once you are out of the sun.

The skin will feel very hot to touch, and so you’ll want to cool down the area of the sunburn by sponging cool water on it. If possible, a cold shower or bath can be used instead but the person should remain in it for less than 10 minutes. If the cold water provides relief, this treatment can be repeated. You can also fan the person to help him cool down faster.

Sunburns that are mild can often be soothed using special lotions that contain aloe vera and are designed to be put on after exposure to the sun. Calamine lotion may also offer some relief. However, these lotions should only be used, when there is no blistering involved.

If the sunburn was bad enough to cause blisters or another type of skin damage, the person should see a physician. You should also watch the patient to make sure that they aren’t suffering from heat stroke or heat exhaustion, which require immediate attention. If the person’s temperature is high, they are confused, have stopped sweating or is unconscious, call 911 immediately.

The best way to avoid a sunburn is to limit your exposure to the sun and to wear lightweight clothing. If you expect to be in the sun for an extended period of time, a hat and sunscreen will help protect you and your skin further.

Summer is the best time to be outside and enjoying the sun, and that is why It is very important to learn about how to properly handle sunburns. For more summer first-aid tips and to learn more about the first aid courses that will be offered in your local area, please visit our website at

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