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Sun Safety

July 03, 2019

Peds Points with Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Erin Adams, CPNP-PC

Sun Safety 2019

-all sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, it needs time to work on the skin

-babies have thinner skin and underdeveloped melanin, so their skin burns easily. The best protection for babies under 6 months of age is shade, so they should be kept out of the sun whenever possible

-when adequate clothing and shade are NOT available, a minimal amount of sunscreen, at least SPF 15, can be applied to small areas on infant, such as the face and the back of hands

-try to stay in the shade when the sun is at its strongest (usually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the northern hemisphere). If kids are in the sun during this time, apply and reapply sunscreen

-The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that ALL kids — regardless of their skin tone — wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Whatever sunscreen you choose, make sure it's broad-spectrum (protects against both UVA and UVB rays) and, if kids are in or near water, is labeled water-resistant

-wear sunglasses: Sun exposure damages the eyes as well as the skin. Even 1 day in the sun can lead to a burned cornea (the outer clear membrane layer of the eye). Sun exposure over time can cause cataracts (clouding of the eye lens, which leads to blurred vision) later in life. The best way to protect eyes is to wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection

-to treat a sunburn:

have your child take a cool (not cold) bath, or gently apply cool, wet compresses to the skin to help ease pain and heat

apply pure aloe vera gel (available in most drugstores) to any sunburned areas

give your child an anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen or use acetaminophen to ease the pain and itching. (Do not give aspirin to children or teens.) Over-the-counter diphenhydramine also may help reduce itching and swelling

apply moisturizing cream to rehydrate the skin and treat itching. For the more seriously sunburned areas in kids over 2 years old, apply a thin layer of 1% hydrocortisone cream to help with pain. (Do not use petroleum-based products, because they prevent excess heat and sweat from escaping. Also, avoid first-aid products that contain benzocaine, which may cause skin irritation or allergy.)

-if your child gets a sunburn that results in blistering, pain or fever, or you have concerns about sunburn or questions about sun safety, contact our offices to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider