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Sun Protection

Spending time outdoors is a common activity for those living in Las Vegas. It is important to remember everyone is at risk for sunburn. Children especially need to be protected from the sun's burning rays, since most sun damage occurs in childhood. Like other burns, sunburn will leave the skin red, warm, and painful. In severe cases, it may cause blistering, fever, chills, headache, and a general feeling of illness. Here are some sun safety tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

 

Sun Protection for babies under 6 Months:

  • Babies under 6 months of age should be kept out of direct sunlight. Move your baby to the shade under a tree, umbrella or stroller canopy. Dress babies in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs, and use brimmed hats that shade the neck to prevent sunburn.
  • When adequate clothing and shade are not available, parents can apply a minimal amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF. It is okay to apply a small amount of sunscreen on infants under 6 months if there is no way to avoid the sun. Remember it takes 30 minutes to be effective.
  • If an infant gets sunburn, apply cool compresses to the affected area and call your pediatrician.

 

Sun Protection for Children

  • The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours between 10AM to 4PM.
    • Select clothes made of tightly woven fabrics. Cotton clothing is both cool and protective.
    • Find a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears and back of neck.
    • Sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection will also protect your child's eyes.
  • Apply sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater to areas of your child's skin that aren't covered by clothing. Before applying, test the sunscreen on your child's back for an allergic reaction. Apply carefully around the eyes, avoiding eyelids. If a rash develops, talk with your pediatrician.
  • Be sure to apply enough sunscreen -- about one ounce per sitting for a young adult.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.

 

Additional Sun Safety Tips:

  • The sun's damaging UV rays can bounce back from sand, water, snow or concrete; so be particularly careful of these areas.
  • Wear commercially available sun-protective clothing, like swim shirts.
  • Most of the sun's rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day; so use sun protection even on cloudy days.
  • When choosing a sunscreen, look for the words "broad-spectrum" on the label - it means that the sunscreen will protect against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.
  • Zinc oxide, a very effective sunscreen, can be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, top of the ears and on the shoulders.
  • Use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The additional benefits of using sunscreen with SPF 50+ are limited.
  • Rub sunscreen in well, making sure to cover all exposed areas, especially the face, nose, ears, feet and hands, and even the backs of the knees.
  • Put on sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors - it needs time to work on the skin.
  • Sunscreens should be used for sun protection and not as a reason to stay in the sun longer.
Author
Dr. Rom Satchi

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