Gatlinburg can wash over you like a wave of fun, causing you to lose track of anything but what you are engulfed in and the anticipation of what is next. This is one of the greatest allures of this region of Tennessee. However, the abundance of fun does come with its health hazards! Most people are having too much fun to realize the danger they have put themselves or their children in until they are home later that night and the classic sting of a sunburn sets in! In the worst cases, it is accompanied by water blisters, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, chills, fever, nausea, as well as vomiting. As you can imagine, these are not the souvenirs you mean to be gathering in the Great Smoky Mountains. Fear not! You can spend the day out of doors and still avoid these trip spoilers, and one of the leading causes of skin cancer!
Clothing – The most obvious and effective means of shielding one’s self from the sun is also the oldest means of blocking the sun. Wearing a light weight fabric, such as cotton or linen, to cover ones arms and legs is the easiest way to protect yourself and your little ones. Wear a brimmed hat to protect your face and neck and bald spots. This means of protection offers many benefits. For one, you will not have to worry about your protection wearing off as you do with sun block. There is also no fear of harm done by means of chemicals as some scientists suggest we should be concerned about.
Sun block – If you are like me, you could never bear wearing wrist length sleeves when the temperatures outside would allow you to effectively fry an egg on the pavement, so sunscreen might end up being your saving grace. Apply thirty minutes before going into the sun, and take it with you as you will need to re-apply during your outing. The other problem with sun block is our mental block; we seem to think if we aren’t headed to the beach or the pool we don’t need it. So wrong! If you are headed out for shopping or sight seeing, or to play some putt-putt, you still need your sun block! Make sure you take it with you, because unless you are only planning on being out for two hours, you will need to re-apply. If you are like me, the other problem with sun block is what it does to your skin. While I don’t want sunburn or sun damage, I don’t want a massive breakout or chemical burn either. If you find yourself in this category, dermatologists suggest sun blocks with titanium-dioxide as the first active ingredient. I haven’t had a problem since using this type of sun block, and it is the most effective type of sun block!
Sun Burns – In case you found this article a little too late, let’s talk about what to do to help the discomfort of sunburn. To help with the pain, you can take aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. This will take the edge off of a more mild to severe burn. Drink a lot of water to help with dehydration or Gatorade, which will also help with the possible electrolyte imbalance. For a topical and more natural means of relief, use a cool compress of two cups water and two cups milk. Another natural means of relief is apple cider vinegar. With either of these compresses, soak the cloth and gently wring it out and then lay it on your burn and allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes. And of course, there is Grandma’s aloe plant that works on a sunburn as well as burn from the stove. If you do end up with a burn that causes dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, chills, fever, nausea, or vomiting, you will need to add an Urgent Care or Emergency Room to your list of things to see in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!