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
- AskMayoExpert. Sunburn. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- Piazza GM, et al., eds. Effects of heat and cold. In: ACEP First Aid Manual. 5th ed. London, England; New York, N.Y.: DK Publishing; 2014.
- Sunscreens. American Academy of Dermatology. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sunscreens#.UbdQaJzm9lP. Accessed Dec. 30, 2015.
- Young AR, et al. Sunburn. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Dec. 30, 2015.