Spending time outdoors is common during springtime and summer and so it is important to remember to protect against the sun’s rays. It is especially important to protect children from the sun’s damaging rays since most damage occurs during childhood.
Sun exposure is one of the most prominent dangers of the summer. “Not only will sun exposure to unprotected skin cause sunburns but getting sunburned increases the risk of developing skin cancer,” shares Dr. Levi Strube, a pediatrician with Hannibal Regional Medical Group. When going out in the sun with infants 6 months and younger the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends dressing infants in lightweight long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and brimmed hats which shade the neck to prevent sunburn. Also, parents can apply a small amount of sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to small areas, such as the infant's face and the back of the hands. For children of all ages, the best line of defense is to cover up. “Most children don’t want to cover up as much as they should during the summer so it is recommended to have them wear a minimum of 15 SPF sunscreen. It may be bothersome, but reapplying every two hours is essential for maintaining protection,” says Dr. Strube.
If your child does get a sunburn they will usually experience discomfort and a sensation of heat. Symptoms of sunburn tend to worsen over several hours. “Sunburned skin begins to peel about a week after the sunburn. To help reduce the risk of infection, encourage your child not to scratch or peel off loose skin,” says Dr. Strube. “If the sunburn is severe and blisters develop, you need to seek medical attention. Do not scratch, pop or squeeze the blisters as they can become infected and cause scarring.”
To make an appointment with Hannibal Regional Medical Group Pediatrics call 573-629-3500.