Fun in the sun – safety

Now that summer is around the corner, it’s time to break out those umbrellas, sunglasses and other protectants such as sunscreen.  It is important that parents take the right approach when protecting children from over exposure to the sun.

When we are outdoors we are susceptible to invisible ultra violent rays that can damage the cells in the skin eventually leading to medical conditions involving skin cancer. Ultra violent rays (UVA) are the rays from the sun that cause the skin to tan and ultra violent B (UVB) cause the skin to burn, so when you are outdoors is important to protect yourself from these dangerous UV rays.

We all know to wear loose, absorbent, light-colored clothing and try to avoid going out the time of day when the sun the sun is the strongest.  Sunscreen is a vital part of  summer safety.  It shields the skin from the sun in various ways  – reflecting, absorbing or scattering the rays from the sun.

Which one should I use?

While there are many sunscreen products to choose from, some things you might want to consider when choosing:

  • Use a sunscreen with a SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15, while 30 seems the norm.
  • Make sure that it is resistance to water.
  • Provides both UVA and UVB protection, usually will state broad spectrum on the label.
  • Use it and use it often. Cover all the areas that will be exposed to the sun.
  • Apply 15-30 minutes earlier before going outdoors, that gives the skin time to soak up the lotion or cream.
  • Reapply every 2 hours or so, more if you are swimming or sweating or any activity where you might wear it off.

As for sunscreen sprays, the cream seems the desired choice.  Although the spray has its advantages especially with younger children, being that its easier to apply, take caution with the spray, due to the possibility of inhaling it, and be sure to avoid sparks or flames when using it.  A few other sunscreen precautions: avoid sunscreen with ingredients that can cause skin allergies and lastly, babies 6 months and under are kept out of the sun.

Remember on those days where it seems cool outside the sun is still there, those UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds, be sure to apply that sunscreen.   So let’s prepare.  Happy Summer!





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