This is a guest post about how to protect your children (and yourselves) against sunburn this summer. Please take heed, sunburn is dangerous and painful. I apply sun cream to C and LissyLou every morning in summer just in case, kids spend a lot of time outdoors during the day and can easily get burned, especially if they are very fair skinned! I see far too many tweets and facebook statuses in summer about people getting burnt and it shocks me to see and hear of children getting burnt. IHere’s the information and advice from Medical Chambers Kensington on how to protect your children against sunburn this summer.
Guest Post: Protecting your children against sunburn this summer
Now that we’re heading for summer there is lots to look forward to, especially for children. Six weeks of summer holiday, playing outside and visits to the beach may all be in their thoughts as the weather warms up. While the summer can obviously be a lot of fun for children, it also presents a danger: the sun.
We are all aware of the dangers of the sun. Sunburn can be a particular issue, and long-term can, in the worst cases, lead to skin cancer. Parents, therefore, should always make sure their children are protected from the summer sun.
The sun contains three types of ultraviolet rays: UVA rays, UVB rays and UVC rays. UVA rays cause wrinkles and the skin to age. They contribute towards skin cancers, including melanoma and make up the majority of our exposure to the sun. UVB causes sunburn and can affect the immune system. Like UVA, it can cause sunburn, with the majority of instances of melanoma thought to results from severe UVB sunburn that occurs before the age of 20. UVC rays are something you don’t need to worry about as they are blocked by the ozone layer so don’t reach the earth.
Overexposure to the sun needs to be protected against whatever age you are. This is particularly the case for children. That melanoma tends to come from sunburn before the age of 20 illustrates this. So, who needs to be particularly aware? Those with lighter skin for one. The lighter someone’s skin colour the more liable they are to get sunburnt. We all have a chemical on our skin called melanin which absorbs UV rays, partly protecting against the dangers of the sun. This is found in varying concentrations depending on skin colour; the darker your skin colour the higher concentration of melanin, meaning you are less likely to get sunburnt. People with moles and those with a history of skin cancer, and particularly melanoma, need to be more vigilant than most. Another thing you need to be aware of is where you are in the world. The strength of the sun varies depending where you are with it at its strongest near the equator. It is also strong at high altitude and many make the mistake of not using sun protection when skiing due to it being wintertime. While the sun is strongest during summer, at high altitude it can still be very strong in winter. You should also bear in mind that UV rays reflect off snow and water.
As already mentioned it is particularly important that children are protected from the sun. There are many things that parents can do to ensure they are sufficiently protected, including the below:
This is the most obvious protection against sunburn. Not everyone, though, uses it properly. It is important that every part of the face and body that is exposed to the sun is covered and that sunscreen is reapplied regularly. If your child is on the beach all day then putting on sunscreen at nine o’clock in the morning is not going to do the job. It is recommended that it is reapplied every couples of hours. It should also be reapplied after swimming, even if you are using water resistant sunscreen.
It’s worth noting here that your children need sunscreen when they are at school too, there are plenty of creams that will give all day protection to prevent sunburn occurring at lunch or during busy playtimes on the playground!
It is always a good idea to cover up as much as possible. This may not be the automatic temptation on a warm summer’s day but it is wise in protecting against the danger of the sun. Keeping a shirt on is sensible (even on the beach) and wearing a long sleeved shirt is particularly useful. And, of course, a hat and sunglasses should be worn. A hat can be crucial. As your children won’t have sunscreen on their head it isn’t protected enough against the sun. While hair offers some protection it isn’t enough, so make sure they wear a hat whenever they are in the sun. A wide brimmed hat will also improve protection for the face and neck.
Staying out of the sun in the middle of the day
Avoiding the sun when it is at its hottest is one way of limiting the possible dangers. In many very hot countries, such as places in the Caribbean and Asia, it is noticeable that the only people outside during the middle of the day are tourists. This is because locals want to stay out of the extreme temperatures, preferring to wait until after this period has passed. It is wise to follow this example during the summer, this period typically being between 11am and 3pm.
Stay in the shade where possible
One of the great things about warm weather is that you don’t have to be in the sun to be warm. Staying in the shade can be more comfortable and, crucially, protect against sunburn. While it may be tempting to make the most of the sunny weather by spending as much time as possible in the sun when you get a chance, as far as preventing sunburn is concerned being in the shade is more sensible.
We are all susceptible to problems if we don’t sufficiently protect against sunburn. Children, though, are particularly vulnerable so it is always important to make sure you protect them. By following the above advice you should be able to avoid your children getting burnt this summer.
This featured guest post was written by the Medical Chambers Kensington, whose Dermatologists treat various skin conditions, including those caused by overexposure to the sun.