It’s June and the sun is out and warming us for summer! Kids (as well as adults) look forward to those summertime activities to go out and enjoy the sunshine! Although the fresh air is a great thing, we must protect our children and ourselves from the potential dangers from the sun!
Although our culture tends to view a suntan as an attractive thing, a suntan is actually an indicator of damaged skin! Sunburns are even worse; while they are known to be very painful, they are indicators of highly damaged skin. Even if a child only has a few serious sunburns, the chances of skin cancer later in life have already increased. Severe sunburns can even cause symptoms such as nausea, dehydration, headaches, dizziness, and fever.
The potential hazards from the sun are not something to be taken lightly. It is our job as parents to do all we can to protect our children. Here are some very practical ways to give your children (and yourself) the most protection possible:
- Always wear sunscreen! Yes, even if you will just be in the sun a short time. Yes, even if it is a cloudy day. Dr. Solari recommends sunscreen with no less than a 30 SPF. And make sure to cover those easy-to-forget places: tops of the feet, ears, and the part in the hair.
- Reapply your sunscreen often! Reapply at least every two hours and more often than that when swimming or heavily sweating.
- Cover your skin!Wear a hat, t-shirt and long shorts. The more skin you cover, the more protection you receive. Don’t forget to cover those eyes with some sunglasses (in a favorite color, perhaps?).
- Keep an eye on the time! The sun’s rays are at their strongest between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. To avoid sun-time would be the best, but if you are in the sun during these times, make sure to seek shade often for “breaks” from the sun’s rays.
- Stay hydrated! The sun and heat can quickly dehydrate our bodies. Many times, it comes on so quickly; we don’t notice it until we are already dealing with nausea and feeling light-headed. Keep plenty of water handy and make sure to remind your children to continue to take drinks, as it is easy for them to forget in the midst of all of their fun!
Enjoy the warmth that the sun provides with your family, but always take measures to keep your children safe and protected!
Here is a poem written by Robin Keaton, our Medical Assistant, to go right along with our topic:
Risks of a Sunburn
Summer is back once again, time to play in the warm sun.
Plan a party or cookout, relax and have some fun.
Lay out on a beach towel, perfecting that golden glow.
Go diving off the coast, seeking the treasures below.
Before going out into the sun’s warming rays,
There’s some important information I must relay.
It may be warm and inviting, but you must act cautiously.
Protecting your skin should be a high priority.
A sunburn can seriously damage your skin,
Over-working a pigment known as melanin.
It starts out red, but will eventually hurt.
So bad you can’t even wear your shirt.
It will start itching and peeling and become such an aggravation.
The pain and misery ruining your vacation.
Sunburns can also make you dizzy and make your head ache.
Make you sick and feverish, or even make you dehydrate.
Wrinkles will start to appear, and you may look older than you are.
Blisters breaking open can lead to infection and scars.
More than any of these, the biggest threat is cancer.
Leaving you feeling helpless, and looking for an answer.
So remember sunscreen when in the sun every day.
It comes in creams, lotions, and even in a spray.
Children under six months should not be in direct sunlight,
And older children should wear sunglasses to protect their sight.
A wide-brimmed hat to shade the face, and loose-fitting clothes for all the rest.
An SPF higher than 30 usually works the best.
If you’ve taken all precautions and still end up with a burn,
Here are some first-aid techniques for you to learn.
You don’t want to use alcohol, Tylenol, or medicated creams,
Instead use clear, tepid water, Ibuprofen, and aloe that’s green.
Drink plenty of water when you’re out enjoying the sun.
Take care with these precautions, so a burn won’t ruin your fun!