Stay Safe in the Summer Sunshine

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Summer weather brings a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous. The sun is an important source of Vitamin D, but being out in the sun for an extended period of time can lead to dehydration and cause damage to your skin and eyes. It is especially important to keep younger children safe in the sun while they are playing outside in the summer. Teaching your children how to protect themselves now can help prevent them from developing skin cancer later on.

One way to stay safe in the sun is to remain in the shade during the peak hours of sunlight (usually 10 am to 4 pm). If you are going to a location with no shade, it is a good idea to bring a large umbrella or a tent in order to create shade. Another option is to wear a hat with a wide brim, which can be used to shade your face. Hats provide a protective layer to shield your face and scalp from being sunburned.

It is important to use sunscreen every time you will be in the sun. Choose a sunscreen with 30 SPF. Apply sunscreen generously and at least 15 minutes prior to being in the sun. It is important to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, even if it is labeled as “water resistant.” Children under the age of six months should not wear sunscreen, so they need to be kept out of the sun.

Sunlight can cause damage to the eyes as well as the skin. One day in bright sunlight can burn the cornea (the outer layer of the eye) which can cause pain and vision damage. Sun damage to the eyes can grow over time and eventually may even result in cataracts. The best way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses. Some children may protest, but they may be more willing if they are allowed to choose their own pair from the wide variety of fun frames that are available.

If you do get a sunburn, you can take a cool bath, apply aloe vera, and take pain medication to help relieve the discomfort. If the sunburn is so severe that it blisters, you may need to go to a doctor. It is best not to irritate the blisters while they are healing. Scratching or popping a blister can lead to scarring or an infection.

In order to stay safe in the sun, remember to use sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and drink plenty of water. Most importantly, have fun!

For more information go to: http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/sun_safety.html.