Monday, July 18, 2011


I got severely sunburned recently. Again. With my fair Irish skin, I can expect at least one sunburn per Summer, but my most recent one was easily the worst I have ever had to deal with. I had spent a few hours at the community pool with the kiddo and, even though I remembered to put waterproof sunblock on, it must have washed off at some point because, by the time we got home, I started to look like Dr. Zoidberg. The pain crept up upon me so slowly that I hardly noticed it. My body felt like it was radiating more and more heat. My stomach was so hot to the touch that I felt like I could fry an egg on it. I was later informed that this was my body losing its ability to regulate its own temperature. My fever began to approach 104 as I frantically tried to cool myself down.

I spent the next several hours alternately throwing up and writing in extreme pain as the blisters that had formed all over my swollen back began to pop and ooze. Cold baths didn't help, neither did Aloe, vinegar, praying to God, sacrificing animals to Baal or Solarcane sprays. By morning, I was dragged out of my house by a group of concerned friends and driven to the hospital where a cocktail of painkillers finally granted me some relief by knocking me out.

After waking up and having my fever down to a more manageable temperature, I had assumed that the worst was over. Then the itching came. I wanted to flay my skin off with a rusty knife. Scratching only made it worse. Eventually, a friend hit upon the idea of laying a shower curtain down on the couch, soaking large teabags in cold water and sticking them all over me while I watched Netflix movies on the television. Neosporin helped take care of the scabby blisters and constant infusions of aloe were an absolute necessity.

So, what have I learned? With skin like mine, prevention is the key to avoiding a sunburn.

How do you prevent a sunburn?
  • Apply a high HPF sunblock and do so often. If you're swimming in a pool, re-apply the sunblock often, even if it claims to be waterproof. Don't forget to run a little through your hair in order to avoid burning your scalp.
  • Stay out of the sun during peak hours. If you have fair skin, you'll probably want to stay indoors between the hours of 10:00am and 3:00pm. 
  • Cover Up. Wear floppy hats and long sleeved linen shirts.
  • Wear sunglasses. The skin around your eyes is particularly delicate and is very susceptible to burning.


  1. Or just stay the hell inside. There's a reason I hate nature. This is a perfect example.