The Big Burn

My daughter’s Catholic school uniform is red, white and blue, though most kids typically show up to class wearing just the blue pants and white shirt.

However, today when I dropped my first grader off at school I was met with a sea of red, only it wasn’t because all the kids finally decided to don their crimson sweaters. Rather, the red came courtesy of Sunday’s overexposure to ultraviolet rays.

Yup, more than half the student body was sporting a mean sunburn.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been that shocked considering that yesterday’s high of 83 was the first time we’ve experienced warm weather in nearly eight months.

It’s the price you pay for living in northern Wisconsin.

Still, the sun and subsequent burn were hot topics in the parent drop-off and pick-up lines. Growing up in Hawaii and suffering some severe burns in my childhood makes me feel like somewhat of a know-it-all when it comes to soothing red skin, but I must admit that I learned a few things today.

For starters, never in my wildest dreams would I consider using vinegar to reduce the effects of sunburn. Yet, a group of parents swear that ordinary household vinegar contains medicinal properties that help alleviate sunburn pain. I was told that if you soak a t-shirt or towels in cold vinegar and place it directly onto the skin, it will help soothe the sunburn and alleviate redness and swelling.

I was further shocked by the claim that cold milk is another excellent homemade sunburn reliever. Then again, I live in the Dairy State, so I guess I really shouldn’t have been too blown away by this remedy. Still, a number of parents I spoke with today maintain that the fat in milk soothes burns (which is why you should whole milk and not skim). To reduce sunburn’s sting, simply soak large pieces of gauze in milk and place them over the affected areas. Just make sure the milk is ice-cold and repeat the process every 20 minutes or so. When the redness subsides, take a shower in cool water and apply Aloe Vera to the sunburn.

Have you ever used these homemade remedies on your kids? Did they work?

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.