Your Wellness with NorthBay Health Experts

Your Wellness is a blog focused on general health topics and information from NorthBay's excellent cadre of health care professionals.

Keep Kids Safe In The Sun

June 13, 2018

Summer has arrived and with it, the sunny days that beckon us outdoors. When children are outdoors, however, it's important to protect their skin.

"The less sun damage you get as a child, the lower your long-term skin cancer risk," explained NorthBay pediatrician Matthew Heeren, M.D.

When outdoors, Dr. Heeren said, finding a shaded place to enjoy the day is best but using a sun block of at least 45spf is also a must.

Whatever sunscreen you choose, make sure it's broad-spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB rays) and, if kids are in or near water, is labeled water-resistant. Apply a generous amount and re-apply often.

Dr. Heeren also suggested timing your outings to avoid the strongest rays of the day but noted that "really any time the sun is out is potentially dangerous" and would require sun block.

Do children need to wear sunglasses? Dr. Heeren said it's a good idea "as well as hats if prolonged sun exposure is planned."

What should you do if you child does get a sunburn? Dr. Heeren recommends plenty of cold fluids, a cook environment, and skin care that is safe. "Not everyone can do aloe vs. non aloe," he noted.

Pain relief is also key, he noted. When kids get sunburned, they usually have pain and a sensation of heat - symptoms that tend to get worse several hours after sun exposure. Anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help.

If the sunburn is severe and blisters develop, call your doctor.

And be a good role model by always using sunscreen, wearing sunglasses, and limiting your own time in the sun.

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