If you spent Memorial Day weekend in the Northeast at the beach or in the mountains, then you enjoyed 2 unseasonably cold days of rain and some sun with cooler temperatures on Monday. But, the rest of the summer lies ahead and we’re all hoping for warm and sunny days moving forward so… let’s talk about Sunburn.

Sunburn is an overexposure to radiation from ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. Like all radiation, it can affect living tissue like your skin. Repeated overexposure to this radiation causes long term skin damage that shows up years later. Examples of radiation damage to the skin include dark spots, deep wrinkles and a skin cancer called melanoma that can result in death when it spreads to your internal organs.

Melanin is a pigment that gives your skin its color and defends it against the sun’s rays. Melanin works by darkening your unprotected sun-exposed skin. The amount of melanin you produce is determined by genetics, which is why some people get sunburned while others tan.

  • Even without a burn, sun exposure raises skin cancer risk. Even if you are tan or your skin type is dark and your skin does not redden, the sun can cause cellular damage that can lead to cancer.
  • The UV index is a factor: The sun varies in intensity by season, time of day and geographic location.
  • Repeated sunburns raise your risk. Research shows that the UV rays that damage skin can also alter a tumor-suppressing gene, giving injured cells less chance to repair before progressing to cancer.
  • You can burn on an overcast day: Up to 80 percent of UV rays can penetrate clouds.

An ounce of prevention is clearly worth a pound of cure when it comes to sun exposure and sunburn. What’s often forgotten is, that in addition to sunscreen, these are things you can also do to reduce your risk of sunburn.

  1. Protect your skin with clothing (loose-fitting clothes made of breathable SPF fabric are ideal)
  2. Use an umbrella or a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face
  3. Avoid the sun during peak hours, between roughly 10 am and 2 pm
  4. Don’t try for a base tan. Some people assume that if their skin is tan, it won’t burn when exposed to the sun. However, a tan doesn’t offer any real protection from the sun — and tanning on a regular basis, whether in the sun or a tanning bed, can do long-term damage to your skin, so it should be avoided

Buying a sunscreen has become confusing – which SPF, spray or lotion, minerals or PABA. UVA? UVB?

  • It’s important to look for the words “broad spectrum” on a product’s label, which means it has ingredients that can protect you from UVA as well as UVB rays.
  • The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended outdoor activity. Products with very high SPFs often create a false sense of security. People who use them tend to stay out in the sun much longer, skip reapplying, don’t seek shade and don’t wear a hat or cover up with clothing. They end up getting a lot more UV damage.
  • The term water resistant means that the SPF is maintained for up to 40 minutes in water. Very water resistant means the SPF is maintained for 80 minutes in water.
  • Sunscreens contain filters that reflect or absorb UV rays. There are two main types of filters:  Organic filters absorb UV radiation and convert it to a small amount of heat. Examples include cinnamates, salicylates and benzophenones. Inorganic filters reflect and scatter UV radiation. Examples include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Inorganic sunscreens are typically less irritating to skin.
  • There are different applications of  sunscreens: Lotions are preferred for application on large areas. Gels work best in hairy areas, such as the scalp or chest. Sticks are useful when applying sunscreen around the eyes. Sprays are easy to apply on children. Because it’s difficult to know how well you’re applying it, spray a generous and even coating.
  • Apply generous amounts of sunscreen to dry skin 15 minutes before you go outdoors and reapply every 2 hours.
  • Use sunscreen on all skin surfaces that will be exposed to the sun, such as your neck, the tops of your feet, your ears and the top of your head. Apply a lip balm or lipstick with an SPF of least 30 to your lips.

Sunburn is painful and disfiguring. It should be treated as soon as possible. It may take two days for the severity of your burn to become evident and several more days for your skin to begin to heal. Sunburn treatment doesn’t heal your skin, but it can reduce pain, swelling and discomfort.

  • Take a pain reliever. For pain relief take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) as soon as possible after sun exposure. Some pain relievers are gels that you apply to your skin.
  • Cool the skin. Apply to the affected skin a clean towel dampened with cool tap water. Or take a cool bath with added baking soda — about 2 ounces (60 grams) per tub. Cool the skin several times a day.
  • Apply a moisturizer, lotion or gel. An aloe vera lotion or gel or calamine lotion might be soothing.
  • Drink water to prevent dehydration.
  • Don’t break intact blisters. If a blister does break, clean it with mild soap and water. Then apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound and cover it with a nonstick bandage.
  • Treat peeling skin gently. Within a few days, the affected area may begin to peel. This is your body’s way of getting rid of the top layer of damaged skin. While your skin is peeling, continue to moisturize.
  • Take an anti-itch drug. An oral antihistamine such as diphenhydramine might help relieve itching as the skin begins to peel and heal underneath.
  • Apply a corticosteroid cream. For mild to moderate sunburn, apply over-the-counter corticosteroid cream to the affected area.
  • Protect your sunburn from further sun exposure. While your skin heals, stay out of the sun, or protect your skin if you do go out.
  • Avoid applying ‘-caine’ products, such as benzocaine. Such creams can irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.

Here are some home remedies suggested by top New York dermatologists:

1. Aloe Vera: Perhaps one of the most common ways to treat a sunburn, aloe vera gel can do more than provide the skin with cooling relief. The gel also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe sunburned skin, says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist. Keep a bottle of aloe vera in your beach bag this summer—or, even better: use the gel from the actual plant—and apply when needed.

2. Hyaluronic Acid  If you experience a sunburn on your face, Melissa Doft, M.D., a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City, suggests applying a facial serum infused with hyaluronic acid, “to help the skin heal faster.” As a hydrating substance produced naturally by the body, hyaluronic acid can help moisturize and plump sun-parched skin without causing further irritation.3. White Vinegar To help relieve some of the pain and inflammation from the burn—and prevent potential infection—Dr. Jaliman suggests applying white vinegar to the affected areas. “Because white vinegar is composed of acetic acid, it can help relieve the pain and inflammation, and act as an antiseptic,” she explains.

4. Baking Soda Another important thing to keep in mind when treating a sunburn at home is your skin’s natural pH level. To help balance the pH of burned skin, Dr. Jaliman suggests making a cold compress composed of baking soda and water and applying to sunburned skin for 15 minutes.

5. Green Tea In addition to baking soda compresses, Dr. Jaliman also suggests giving green tea compresses a try, as they contain polyphenols, “which are anti-inflammatory.” To do so, simply steep green tea leaves and soak a clean washcloth in the steeped tea. Allow the compress to cool in the fridge before applying to sunburned skin for 15 minutes.

6. Greek Yogurt Thanks to lactic acid, Greek yogurt has anti-inflammatory benefits and can be used to soothe and moisturize sunburned skin. “Greek yogurt is strained more times than traditional yogurt [and] as a result, it is thicker and has a higher concentration of probiotics,” says Dr. Jaliman. “Recent studies have found that topical application of probiotics decreases skin sensitivity and redness,” she adds. To soothe a sunburn at home with Greek yogurt, you can apply plain, organic Greek yogurt to the face and body as a mask and rinse after 15 minutes.

COVID Updates

  • Philadelphia will lift restrictions on June 2 (originally planned for June 11th) as vaccinations fuel a continuing decrease in new coronavirus cases. This means the limits on capacity and social distancing requirements for all businesses and events will be lifted TODAY allowing stadiums, restaurants, and other venues to host crowds at pre-pandemic levels. The indoor mask mandate and 11 p.m. curfew for dining will remain in place, but this could be lifted on June 11th.
  •  Pennsylvania lifted its coronavirus mitigation measures on Memorial Day  meaning that restaurants, bars, stores, salons, gyms, theaters, event venues, nightclubs, and other businesses can open at 100% capacity, and crowd-size limits will be lifted on all indoor and outdoor gatherings. Schools will no longer be required to report their coronavirus prevention measures to the state. Cleaning, sanitizing, and distancing mandates for business owners are also lifted
  • Pennsylvania is keeping in place the requirement to wear masks indoors in compliance with state and CDC guidelines. Masking indoors will be required until 70% of the state’s 18-and-older population is vaccinated. Of Pennsylvanians 18 and over, 63% have received at least one dose, and 41.8% are fully vaccinated, according to federal data — indicating the 70% goal may be attainable. The masking requirement is the first time the state has tied a reopening goal to vaccinations.


  • In New Jersey, effective June 4th, indoor gathering and capacity limits will be lifted meaning dance-floor restrictions will go away, workplace rules will go back to pre-pandemic times. and the 30 percent capacity limit at indoor venues will be lifted. On May 28th, people in NJ were permitted to enter restaurants, stores and other indoor spaces without face coverings. Friday also saw the lift of the 6-foot social distancing requirement in all indoor and outdoor settings.
  • The CDC requires individuals to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transit. People should also continue to follow mask guidance at workplaces, businesses, long-term care facilities, hospitals, prisons, and homeless shelters.
  • AMC, Regal, and Cinemark all say fully vaccinated customers no longer have to wear a mask inside their theaters. For others, masks will now be “strongly encouraged,” but can be removed when eating or drinking. Theaters will continue other COVID-19 health safety measures, including reduced capacity and enhanced cleaning procedures.
  • Families who lost loved ones to COVID-19 can get their funeral costs reimbursed by the federal government but many families are still waiting for their money. It provides reimbursement of up to $9,000 for funeral, internment, or cremation costs for COVID-19-related deaths after January 20, 2020. And currently, there’s no registration deadline. “It’s an amazing benefit,” said Ed Michael Reggie, CEO of “Regardless of income of the family.” But the only way to apply is to call.Nationwide, $2.2 billion is available, but only 4.9% or $66 million was approved.
  • The NFL has been a big proponent of the U.S. vaccination effort. Many NFL stadiums have also served as mass vaccination sites in recent months. The NFL and NFLPA came to an agreement that returned fully-vaccinated players and staff to pre-pandemic norms.
  1. Fully vaccinated employees are no longer required to undergo daily testing
  2. They are no longer required to wear masks at team facilities.
  3. They don’t have to quarantine after being exposed to a COVID-positive individual
  4. They may enjoy meals in the team cafeteria.
  5. The team saunas and steam rooms are again available to them
  6. They have no capacity restrictions while in the weight room.
  7. Lastly, they will not face the same traveling restrictions as they did a year ago
  • Sesame Place is opening up to full capacity for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sesame Place staff have implemented safety measures and identifiers, like having a green check mark on their name card if they got a vaccine. Prior COVID-19 restrictions included families standing in socially-distanced hula hoops for their dance parties.
  • The just-concluded flu season was one of the mildest on record in Pennsylvania, health officials reported Friday, with COVID-19 precautions like masking and social distancing credited with helping to prevent the spread of the influenza virus as well as the novel coronavirus. Through last week, Pennsylvania reported 3,664 confirmed cases in the 2020-21 flu season, down 97% from nearly 131,000 cases the previous year, when flu circulated widely. There were 45 hospitalizations and 21 flu-related deaths.
  • The Wells Fargo Center will return to full capacity of more than 20,000 fans on June 2 for the Sixers playoff run. Fans and staff will still be required to wear masks inside the Wells Fargo Center, but the city said the indoor mandate could be lifted on June 11 if coronavirus data continues to improve. The Wells Fargo Center said it recently completed an $11 million renovation of its HVAC systems, installing a new, state-of-the-art air filtration system that replaces all the air in the arena’s seating bowl every 30 minutes. The arena was also recently awarded the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management.


  • The Phillies announced that the seating capacity at Citizens Bank Park will increase to 100 percent starting with their next home series, which begins Friday, June 4 against the Washington Nationals. Fans are not required to wear masks while in the seating bowl and outdoor areas at Citizens Bank Park. All fans must wear masks in indoor spaces including the Diamond Club, retail stores, elevators and restrooms. Tailgating will be permitted in the parking lots south of Pattison Avenue.
  • Europe saw the largest decline in new COVID-19 infections and deaths this week compared with any other region, while also reporting about 44% of adults had received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the World Health Organization and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Now, vaccination rates are accelerating across Europe, and with them, the promise of summer vacations
  • Immunity created after being infected with COVID-19, in addition to getting vaccinated, could last in the body for years, according to two new studies published this month.  In both studies, one published in the journal “Nature” and the other published online at BioRxiv, authors noted that memory B cells were largely responsible for creating a longer immune response and subsequent immune memory to prevent future infection from COVID-19 and other variants for longer than 6-12 months.
  • Jury trials in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties and South Jersey are being scheduled, and courthouses are making plans to return to full capacity after a year of mostly empty courtrooms. A number of criminal matters have been resolved, when applicable, through diversionary programs including drug and mental health courts, which remained active during the pandemic. Some defendants in other cases opted for bench trials, and others negotiated pleas with prosecutors. The biggest hurdle for any county has been murder cases, the majority of which require juries to be impaneled.
  • Congress has passed laws barring pharmacies and hospitals in the United States from billing patients for coronavirus vaccines. Signs at vaccination sites advertise that the shots are free. From the beginning, health officials and government leaders have told the public that getting the inoculation won’t cost anything. Even so, some unvaccinated adults cite concerns about a surprise bill as a reason for not getting vaccinated. Many are accustomed to a health system in which bills are frequent, large and often unexpected. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that about a third of unvaccinated adults were unsure whether insurance covered the vaccines and were concerned that they might need to pay. The concern was especially pronounced among Hispanic and Black survey respondents.
  • Coronavirus variants have now been assigned the letters of the Greek alphabet to simplify discussion and pronunciation while avoiding stigma. The four coronavirus variants considered of concern by the U.N. agency and known generally by the public as the UK, South Africa, Brazil and India variants have now been assigned the Greek letters Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, respectively, according to the order of their detection. Other variants of interest continue down the alphabet.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report. The White House has come under pressure to conduct its own investigation after China told the World Health Organization that it considered Beijing’s part of the investigation complete, calling for efforts to trace the virus’s origins to shift into other countries. Earlier this month a group of 18 prominent scientists called for a deeper investigation into the circumstances in which the virus emerged, including the possibility that a laboratory accident released it.
  • Many states also made it easier for patients to get medical marijuana during the pandemic, allowing for not only telehealth access but also delivery or curbside pickup. Advocates in Pennsylvania are now pushing to make permanent Covid-era rules that allowed curbside pickup. Patients can also obtain a three-month supply of medical marijuana rather than a 30-day supply. The bill, which passed out of a state House committee on Monday, also allows caregivers to deliver marijuana to an unlimited number of patients, effectively legalizing delivery.
  • The vast majority of patients undergoing active systemic therapy for cancer exhibited an adequate immune response to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, according to a prospective cohort study. A total of 90% of patients with solid tumors undergoing active intravenous cancer treatment were seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antispike IgG antibodies after a second dose of the vaccine (BNT62b2), although their antibody titers were significantly lower than those of healthy controls, reported Salomon M. Stemmer, MD, of Rabin Medical Center of Bellinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, Israel, and colleagues.
  • The Numbers:
  1. Globally, there have been more than 170.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3.5 million associated deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  2. The United States has reported more than 33.2 million confirmed cases and more than 594,000 associated deaths.
  3. Currently, more than 168 million U.S. people have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose. More than 135 million people are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

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Please stay safe and be smart,
Dr Bralow