You’ve seen it in movies, read it in books; an intrepid band of adventurers (or maybe just one) must travel through a desert with the clothes on their backs and few or no supplies. As one expects in the desert, the sun beats down, and after a full day of traveling, at least one (probably only one) adventurer is ‘severely’ sun burnt. Maybe s/he falls into an exhausted sleep of fevered dreams. Maybe, if they find an oasis, someone places cool damp cloth on the reddened face. If natives come to their rescue, the tribal healer may give the burnt one an ointment to help the skin heal.
Other than those few bits I’ve mentioned above, the affliction of sunburn is not mentioned, and doesn’t affect the abilities of that person beyond the first day.
You’re not going to see sunburns treated so cavalierly in my books.
Hubby and I went to a water park during our vacation. I’ve been told all my life that I have skin like a redhead’s, and I’ve said for decades that I ‘burn at the drop of a sunbeam’. When we go to a water park, I try to find someplace I can entertain myself in the shade, with only occasional short stints in the sunlight. By the time the rest of the family is ready to leave, I hopefully only have a pink bit of sunburn to contend with.
I forgot all that, I guess. Oh, I started on the not-so-lazy river, which has large stretches of shade, but then I wandered to the ‘wave pool’. After 2 hrs in the mid-day sun, I could tell my face was burnt, so we left. By the time we reached our room, I was in PAIN! My face felt like it was on fire, my soft cotton t-shirt scraped my shoulders and back into agony. I slathered on moisturizer several times the rest of that day, and poured ice beverages down my throat, hoping to give my body the water it needed to repair this fiery damage. At least, I did those things until I developed the shivers so bad, all I could do was curl up inside a blanket on the sofa. I was still shivering when I went to bed.
The next day, I stayed indoors, continued with the moisturizer and iced beverages. And ibuprofen to fight off any more fevers. My face still burned. My shoulders, back and upper chest gave sharp protests whenever I moved an arm. On day 3, the burn on my face was pink on the lower cheeks and chin, but still red across the forehead, cheekbones and nose. The other burnt areas were much the same as Tuesday, except my back and collar bones - although still very tender - started to itch. And so my recovery continued slowly, a mixture of pain, tenderness, care and irritating itchiness. I still hadn’t gotten to the peeling stage.
And mine would not be considered a ‘severe’ case of sunburn, since I didn’t have any blisters that first day to indicate a 2nd degree burn.