WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
A 16-year-old girl from England who suffered a horrific sunburn on her back while vacationing in Cuba this week has since taken to Facebook to warn others of the summer sun’s dangers.
Maisie Squires, of Leeds, told Fox News Saturday that she was enjoying a snorkeling excursion near the end of her family’s two-week trip to Cuba when the terrible sunburn struck.
With temperatures hovering around 96 degrees Fahrenheit, Squires said that she kept herself covered in sunscreen through the trip, and applied sun protection cream before the fateful ocean adventure.
Nevertheless, the fierce Caribbean rays caused devastating damage to her back during the one-hour trip.
“Time passed as I was having a lot of fun and was very interested in the sea life," Maisie said. "I was not aware that my back was burning as I was in the cool water, concentrating on snorkeling."
Hours later, at dinner, Squires began feeling pain all over her arms and back.
In hopes of soothing the symptoms, her mother put lotion all over the sunburn. Later that night, Squires said that she could hardly sleep, “as I was in that much pain, I couldn’t hardly [sic] move.”
The next day, four blisters blossomed on Squires’ back, and a cream from the hotel doctor proved to be no help.
By the time the family went to the airport for their nine-hour flight home to the U.K., Squires said her blisters were growing by the hour.
“When walking it felt like I had water balloons on my back. I could feel the fluid in the blisters moving around,” she recalled. “The massive blisters were appearing through the back of my top causing everybody to look at me.”
“For the whole flight I had to sit with my back arched forward with my head in front of my knees,” she remembered. Upon deplaning, Squires revealed that her little sister ran past her and nudged her side, accidentally popping the biggest blister in the process.
“My whole back was soaking from the fluid,” she said.
After arriving home, Squires and her mother rushed to the emergency room. Doctors told the girl that her blisters would pop on their own and to let them be or risk infection.
In the days since, the 16-year-old has been resting at home under the care of her family, telling Fox News that her back is “healing very well” although "it is still very painful and sore."
“My back burnt like this as I was not aware of the heat that was directly on my back and also I have very fair skin, meaning I burn easily," she said.
"If I had not of [sic] put sun cream on my back, it would’ve been so much worse,” she continued. “I just hope that people see how dangerous the sun actually is and hopefully my horrific mistake has been a big lesson to most people and also me myself.”
Squires has shared her story to Facebook, where her post has since gone viral with over 12,000 shares and 20,000 comments as of Saturday afternoon.
The girl’s father, Dean Squires told The Sun that his daughter’s sunburn was “much worse in real life” and verifies that his daughter had been wearing sunscreen on the front and back of her body during the unfortunate snorkeling trip.
“She was wearing sun cream on front and back,” he told the outlet. “I’ve never seen as bad before. We know teenagers don’t listen, but she was wearing cream and was still burnt.”
“Hopefully it’ll be a good warning to other people,” Dean Squires added.
Likewise, a spokesperson for the British Association of Dermatologists recommended that swimmers and snorkelers wear protective clothing when spending long periods of time in the sun as an extra precaution against dangerous UV rays.
"Prevention is always better than a cure when it comes to sunburn, as the ‘cure’ will only do so much, and the damage to the skin can’t be reversed,” the official told the Sun, advising that cases of severe sunburn and blistering should immediately be seen by a doctor.