For many, Memorial Day Weekend marks the official start of summer. There are backyard barbecues, road trips to the beach or just lazy days under the hazy summer sun. Summer is a time to unwind and enjoy mild temperatures and great weather, as long as vacationers are mindful of the dangers of summer sun.
Sunburns, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can bring a quick end to any vacation or day at the beach. It is important to know the symptoms of sun-related illnesses and to know where to go for help.
Depending on the shade of the skin, sunburns can be pink to bright red or darker brown. The severity of the burn will determine whether medical care is necessary. First-degree burns, while painful, are the easiest to treat and do not necessarily require medical attention. Anyone with sunburn should seek shade, get some water and apply a first-aid lotion to the burn to relieve the pain.
Second-degree burns will produce liquid filled blisters. By sending fluid to the skin, the body is trying to cool itself and stop the burning. It is important not to open or break these blisters because opening the wound could lead to infection. Call 911 or another emergency number to get help. If you can, apply a cool mist to the skin. Do not wrap the burned area or allow clothing to touch the blisters because the cloth will stick to the skin and pull it off.
Third-degree burns are serious and can result in death. Someone with third degree sunburn is likely unconscious, so call 911 immediately. Bring shade to them – do not try to move them – and keep their airway open so they can breathe.
Sunburn could be a sign for the onset of a more serious condition like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Look for other symptoms like profuse sweating, muscle cramps, weakness or dizziness and nausea and vomiting.
If medical care is necessary, it is important to always know where to get help, especially while traveling. TRICARE beneficiaries are covered while traveling on business or vacation, but it is vital to know what you need to do to get help.
Emergency care is covered for all TRICARE beneficiaries. Beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Prime Remote, TRICARE Prime Overseas, TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas or the TRICARE Young Adult-Prime Option must contact their primary care manager within 24-hours or the next business day after receiving emergency care. People using TRICARE Standard and Extra will save money if they use a network provider. For more information on how to get care when traveling, please visit www.tricare.mil/GettingCare/Traveling.aspx.