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There is something about a nice day that makes us forget that too much fun in the sun can be detrimental to our health --take it from me, as a ginger living in Florida I know this all too well. That being said, I also like to consider myself a seasoned pro at taking care of myself when the inevitable happens. So, whether you found yourself landing on this page after Googling "how to recover from spending too long in the sun" or you are just preparing for your upcoming vacation, these are my best tips for how I mend my minor heat-related ailments as quickly as possible.
*Please note that this is not medical advice so definitely seek medical treatment if you are experiencing any of these or other severe heat-related symptoms.*
As someone who has spent many hot July days wandering about Disney World and Universal, I know as soon as I feel myself getting a headache that it's time to hydrate. However, the effects of dehydration can linger far after you have removed yourself from direct heat/sunlight, especially if it manifests as a sunburn. According to John Hopkins Medicine, severe sunburns can lead to dehydration and even shock. That said, it's super important to keep hydrating yourself even after you are out of the direct sunlight. So, grab a bottle or two of Gatorade and get cozy in the AC, you'll want to rest up and rehydrate for at least a couple of days.
2. Avoid direct sunlight
This sort of goes with what was said above; if you don't stay out of the heat and sunlight, you won't give your body time to repair itself -- thus furthering the damage. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the sunshine at all, but if you keep a low profile under the cover of shade you will surely help yourself heal much faster.
3. Take it easy
You know how you are told to just "take it easy" when you are experiencing other illnesses like a cold or the flu? Well, not much changes for heat-related illness, especially when it's accompanied by additional symptoms such as nausea, fever, and dehydration. Extreme physical exertion may hinder your body's ability to recover, especially if you end up hurting or injuring yourself further. It's not absurd to believe that physically-straining activities could aggravate your symptoms or even worsen them.
4. Remedy your sunburn
Unfortunately, there is nothing that will make your sunburn disappear other than time, but there are some things that can make it a little more bearable. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Ibuprofen can be useful in pain and inflammation management related to sunburn. Topical aloe vera gels can provide a cooling sensation that also provides some relief, especially so when dually mixed with a topical numbing agent like lidocaine. I also treat any open sores with topical antibiotic creams to avoid infection and use a strong moisturizer like this one to keep my skin from cracking further.
5. Apply skin repairing products
It's well known that sun exposure irreversibly changes the look of your skin, that's why it's important to fight back the damage with skin repairing products. Along with adding collagen into my beauty routine, I use this face brightening powder with vitamin C and Zinc Oxide (a skin protectant used in sunscreen) to minimize the current destruction and avoid further damage.
6. Follow up with your medical provider(s)
I cannot stress this enough, but it's so important to follow up with your medical providers after experiencing any heat-related illness including something that may seem as minor as sunburn. UV rays are a leading cause of moles, age spots and malignant skin cancers (and eye damage), so it is incredibly vital to share information about your time in the sun with your doctor.
Do you have any good tips on how you heal from a day in the sun? Tell me in the comments below!