Symptoms of sunburn usually appear 2-4 hours after the sun has already done its damage.  Redness, pain and swelling are not seen for 18-24 hours.  Repeated sun exposure causes long-term damage to the skin, ranging from premature wrinkling to skin cancer.  Since a large percentage of most people’s lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood, teach your children to use sunscreen and avoid direct sun exposure during the peak hours of the day (generally from 10am to 3pm) if possible.  Remember to reapply sunscreen every 3-4 hours and after swimming or profuse sweating.  Even “waterproof” sunscreens tend to wash off after 30 minutes in the water or after being wiped dry with a towel.  The skin of infants burns very easily.  Use sunscreens, protective clothing and a hat with a brim if your infant if outside during peak sun hours.


  •  Acetaminophen or ibuprofen started early and continued for 48 hours can reduce discomfort   
  • Nonprescription hydrocortisone creams or moisturizing creams applied three times daily may also decrease swelling and pain if started early
  • Cool baths or wet compresses several times daily are helpful in relieving pain
  • Offer extra fluids to replace fluid lost into the swelling of sunburned skin.


During office hours if:

  • The sunburn causes extensive blistering

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507