With the onset of the summer months and longer days, it is especially important to make sure children are protected from sunburn. However, sunburn is a risk year round for all ages and skin types on both sunny and cloudy days.
Children are at the greatest risk for long term effects of sunburn, as the majority of sun damage occurs in childhood.
Sunlight is especially strong during the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm, and consider reflective surfaces may increase exposure (water, sand, snow, concrete).
Hydration when out in the sun is extremely important, give your child extra water!
- Babies under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight, using tightly woven fabrics (clothing, broad brim hats, tents, umbrellas and covers) or shade. Sunscreen should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
- SPF 15 or higher should be used on children and adults (SPF +50 is not shown to have any added benefit) with UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection.
- Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure and subsequently every 2 hours, as well as after water exposure or sweating. At least 1 ounce of sunscreen should be used with each application for children, over ALL areas of exposed skin.
- Sunglasses with UVA/UVB protections may help protect against eye damage.
- Zinc oxide may be used as extra protection on the nose, cheeks, tops of ears, and shoulders.
- Sunburn symptoms: skin is red, warm and painful.
- Severe sunburn symptoms: blisters, fever, chills, headache and ill feeling.
- Treatment of sunburn includes: cool compresses, Ibuprofen or another anti-inflammatory medication, Aloe gel, and gentle skin cleansers. Avoid repeated sun exposure until inflammation has resolved.
Dr. Sonja Vindheim