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Sunburn Tips and Tricks

With summer in full swing, many of you and your children will want to take advantage of this reprieve from cold weather and enjoy some quality time outdoors; remember though, summertime warmth comes with the risk of sunburn.  Here are some things to keep in mind about protecting yourself and your children from the sun.

Prevention:

  • Wear hats to help protect your face and scalp from sunburn.

  • Apply sunscreen with at least SPF 15 to any and all exposed skin at least 15-30 minutes before going outdoors.  Some commonly overlooked areas to protect from the sun are the back of your neck, your lips, the part-line of your hair and around your eyes. 

  • Water cannot protect you from sunburn!  If you or your family members are going to be playing in the water, make sure to apply waterproof sunscreen, and don’t forget to reapply it at least every two hours, whether you’re in the water or not.

  • Clouds cannot protect you from sunburn either!  So long as it’s daytime outside, you can still get burned, no matter how thick the cloud cover is. 

  • Even if you or your children are not prone to getting burned, it’s still important to protect your skin from the sun.  Several detrimental skin conditions and disorders, including skin cancer, can develop, even if an individual has never been burned, if exposure to the sun is great enough.

  • Ultraviolet rays from the sun can be reflected off of sand, snow and other surfaces.  Be careful that all of your body is protected, not just from the sun itself, but from anything that might reflect its light.

  • Babies under six months old should be kept out of direct sunlight whenever possible.  Keep any children in this age range in the shade of an umbrella, baby carriage, trees or wide brimmed hats whenever possible.  Consult a pediatrician before deciding what, if any, sunscreen to use on a child of this age.

Treatment:

  • The extract from aloe vera is a safe, natural and effective remedy for sunburns.  It can be easily found at the pharmacy or convenience store.  Apply a thin film as needed of the burn.

  • When aloe vera is not enough to treat the pain, consider adding acetaminophen (Tylenol) or Benadryl to treat the burn.

  • Sever sunburn can sometimes lead to other medical problems, including dehydration, heatstroke, or infection.  In the event that blisters, fever, chills, headache or a general unwell feeling follows the development of sunburn, consult your primary care physician immediately. 

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