When might sunburn require medical attention?

Answers from Lawrence E. Gibson, M.D.

Consult a doctor for sunburn treatment if:

  • The sunburn is severe — with blisters — and covers a large portion of your body
  • The sunburn is accompanied by a high fever, headache, severe pain, dehydration, confusion, nausea or chills
  • You've developed a skin infection, indicated by swelling, pus or red streaks leading from the blister
  • Your sunburn doesn't respond to at-home care

Your doctor might suggest a corticosteroid cream for your sunburn, or a short course of prednisone for severe cases involving large areas of your body. Antibiotics are most often not required unless you develop an infection.

Feb. 24, 2016 See more Expert Answers