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