Sand and sun, the summer has begun! It’s time to break out your swimsuits, but watch out because the warm sunny weather can also be dangerous to your skin. In fact, recent research suggests that children who experience sunburn at an early age are more than twice as likely to develop melanoma later in life. Here are some tips to protect you and your little ones while splashing in the pool or wading in the ocean.
Head Out at the Right Time
You should avoid being outside when the sun’s rays are particularly strong. If you’re planning a day out in the sun, try to avoid going between the hours of 10am and 4pm. This is when the sun’s rays are the strongest and will increase your chance of burning. Stay under the shade during this time or take lots of breaks and come inside.
Pick the Right Sunscreen and Lather It On
Thirty minutes prior to going out in the sun, lather on sunscreen. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sunscreen that has a sun protection factor or SPF of at least 15. This provides protection against about 93% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Although, the higher the SPF, the more rays it will block. SPF 30 blocks 97 percent of UVB and SPF 50+ blocks 98 percent. Once you have the right sunscreen, be sure to cover your body and don’t skimp out. About an ounce, or one-shot glass, will cover an adult and children will need about half of that. Be sure you don’t forget areas that are often missed such as the ears, back of the legs, neck and the lips. However, don’t apply sunscreen to babies less than six months of age as their skin is too sensitive and will absorb too much of the chemicals.
Reapply, Reapply, Reapply
Don’t be fooled by sunscreen that says it’s waterproof – it’s not. You will need to re-apply you and your child’s sunscreen every two hours. If he or she is out in the water, this time will be reduced to about every hour, or whenever he or she gets out of the water. Also watch out for clouds. Many people neglect to put on sunblock if it gets cloudy, but 80% of the sun’s rays can get through the clouds.
Dress the Part
Your clothing can do a lot to avoid the sun’s rays. Be sure that you and your little one wear a hat and sunglasses to guard against sunburned scalps and burned corneas. Try to wear darker colors and cover up exposed areas if possible. If you or your child recently had surgery such as eye surgery, stitches, or even healing wounds, be sure to cover the area as these types of skin are less resistant to the sun’s rays.
Get Regular Check-ups
Gain peace of mind by visiting your health practitioner for regular checkups to assess your skin condition. By doing so, any early warning signs of melanoma will be picked up and investigated.
Following these steps will help you and your child avoid the dangers of the sun’s rays. You can have peace while your body wages war against the sun’s rays.
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