Yesteryear’s Memories — Too Much Sun

August 8, 2022

It can happen to anyone. A day at the beach, the lake, on the boat—or even just working in the backyard. It creeps up on you slowly, and then you realize that your skin feels really warm. Or hot. Maybe your first clue is someone walking up to you and saying, “Wow—you look like a lobster!” However it happened, what you did or didn’t do doesn’t matter at this point. You’ve got it. That dreaded bane of summer, sunburn.

Then comes the advice. Some of it is good, some is bad, some came from your grandma or maybe your aunt that has thirty-six cats.

Some advice comes from the ads. “Cure your sunburn in hours” or “Blessed relief from the agony of too much sun.” Those are the ones that are gonna cost you. The ones from your family are free, and of course are the ones I always tried first. They range from remedies that make sense, like cool water inside and out. I always figured that if my skin got dry and burned, my body was probably dried out inside too. And cool water or cool anything feels good on hot, red, inflamed skin. By the way, don’t take any advice from this column. It may help or it may cause horrible things to happen to you. Most people get health care advice from their doctor, their bartender, or websites that sell sure-fire cures for every ailment as well as time shares and ebooks on dating. Makes sense to me. Any website that sells dating and travel advice must know all about health.

Back in the good old days, there were many methods of dealing with sunburn. Some of the treatments may be on your grocery list. Coconut oil, butter, avocados, bananas, oatmeal, and apple cider vinegar. I’ve heard of tomato juice, corn starch, yogurt, and potato wedges. Then there’s aloe vera, ice packs, milk and ice cream. Mint chocolate chip comes to mind.

Some Appalachian folk cures are even weirder—like putting grass cuttings in a linen bag and burying it under a sycamore tree. I’m sure there are words that must be uttered, but we average mortals aren’t allowed to know them. You could visit an emergency room with that red skin – you’ll be cured in about the same amount of time and it will only cost you a thousand bucks. I guess it all boils down to this—if you get sunburn, slap some kinda food on it. I like barbecued ribs, personally. If it doesn’t stop the burn at least you won’t starve. Even better, eat the ribs under a shade tree and stay out of the sun. You will feel better and you won’t look like a lobster.

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