Monday, August 06, 2012

Training jiu jitsu with a sunburn....

Saturday morning it was pleasantly warm out (around 78 degrees) and jiu jitsu was cancelled because of a special event held by the gym with whom we share space.  I picked up two flats of plants (zinnias and ponyfoot, if you must know) at the local nursery.  When I got home, I thought to myself, "Self, you should put on your bathing suit.  It will only take 20 minutes to plant these little guys, and afterwards you can hop in the pool to cool off.  And that way, you won't have stupid t-shirt tanlines on your arms."

Famous last words.

I put on a bathing suit and started planting.  Only I also needed to trim the Mexican oregano, pull out the butterfly bush that the aphids killed, mix neem oil to spray other aphid-infested plants.... in short, I ended up being out there a little over three hours.

Of course, being a redhead, this means I got sunburned.  My shoulders not so much-- but definitely my middle-to-lower back.  Let me tell you, training on Sunday was slightly uncomfortable.  Not so much the guard playing, but particularly being in someone's closed guard-- oowieeee!

Just in case anyone else got a little too much sun over the weekend-- I thought I'd compile my advice for sunburnt peeps.  As a redhead, I have lots of experience, but this was my first time training with sunburn.  Some of this advice comes from the Mayo Clinic and some comes from my own experience.
  • Take NSAIDs.  Start right when you know you're burned, and take them every 4-6 hours for the first couple days.  It helps reduce the secondary damage from swelling and heat, and keeps you more comfortable too.
  • Keep it cool. Apply cold compresses — such as a towel dampened with cool water — to the affected skin. Or take a cool bath.  Vinegar is not any more helpful than water, and can actually be a bad idea if you blister or peel.
  • Keep it moist. Apply aloe or moisturizing cream to the affected skin. Avoid products containing alcohol, which can further dry you out. Beware of sunburn treatment products containing anesthetics, such as benzocaine. There's little evidence that these products are effective. In some cases, they may even irritate the skin. Benzocaine has been linked to a rare but serious, sometimes deadly, condition that decreases the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry.
  • Leave blisters intact. If blisters form, don't break them. You'll only slow the healing process and increase the risk of infection. If needed, lightly cover blisters with gauze.  [Of course, this is the Mayo Clinic's advice.  I haven't blistered yet, and I don't know if I'll continue training if that happens.]
  • Treat peeling skin gently. Within a few days, the affected area may begin to peel. This is simply your body's way of getting rid of the top layer of damaged skin. While your skin is peeling, continue to use moisturizing cream.
I will say, a rashguard-lined gi top AND a rashguard that's long enough to tuck inside the pants was heaven-sent.


Steve Zacher said...

As a fellow ginger who grew up in Texas, I know your pain all too well.

From my own experience, I would add drink a lot of water to help with the inevitable dehydration I always ran into from being out in the sun too long. The next day, I'd have that dehydration hangover.

Also, I have always used noxzema. Feels so good on burned skin and also helps keep it from drying out.

And, how about some sunscreen on before you go out in the sun!

Richard Lindsay said...

Oh how I sympathise with this! I burnt my chest a few weeks back and made jits training dreadfully uncomfortable!

Georgette said...

Oy! I know! SO STUPID not to put on sun block!