You likely know how painful and damaging a sunburn is, but a sunburn can also be so severe that medical treatment is necessary to stop the damage and repair the skin and tissue beneath the area of the burn. While many sunburns don't go past the first couple layers of the skin, a severe sunburn can penetrate down to the deepest layer of your skin damaging the area and causing tissue damage as well. This means the skin can't repair itself, and long-term damage and scarring can occur if not treated. Injury can start after just 30 minutes of exposure.
Insurance coverage can be a bit tricky when dealing with the medical treatment involved. Generally, the medical treatment to cover burns is pretty clear, but your insurance company could refuse to cover your treatment if they feel it's a pre-existing condition or cause by recklessness. If you're concerned about problems with your insurance company, you can call the company or ask your doctors office to check into it.
OTC Burn Treatments
There are many types of OTC (over-the-counter) sunburn and burn treatments. They are all topical and can relieve the burning and itching symptoms you're dealing with. Some even claim to prevent scarring and help repair skin. While these products are great for minor burns and to relieve some symptoms, they will not treat severe sunburns. If you're in a significant amount of pain, experiencing severe peeling, or scarring is occurring, you need medical treatment to prevent long-term damage and to treat the injury you have.
Types & Cost of Sunburn Treatments
Basic levels of treatment include IV fluids, pain relievers and topical medications to help with healing and symptoms. If your sunburn is more severe, you may need oral steroid therapy, which you would need to take for several days. However, if you're blistering severely, you will not be given steroids to avoid risk of infection. The cost of all this depends on your admittance to the hospital or if you only need to see your doctor. Because costs can vary with different hospitals and care providers, you can ask for a print-out of the costs during the appointment or your stay so you know exactly what to expect or what to deny to help save money.
Sunburns are nothing to ignore and should be treated immediately. Aviod hot showers and dry air as these can make your burn worse. Cool the skin with a cool shower, cool washrags and cooling ointments. General pain relievers, like Tylenol or Iburphofen, can help as can topical pain relievers. These are all temporary, so if you are experiencing pain that is not soothed with these methods or your sunburn is blistering, seek medical attention immediately for proper care and treatment. Prevention is always the key to keeping your skin healthy. Sunscreen, limited exposure and staying hydrated are all ways to avoid sunburn and the extent of the burn when you are overexposed.