Summer Sun Safety Tips
The summer is here and we are all looking forward to the picnics, volleyball and swimming at the beach. But we are also concerned about sun damage and sun damaged skin. After all, we are all aware now of the real danger of developing the most deadly skin cancer, which is melanoma. Melanoma is the fastest growing skin cancer in the United States and is caused in large by ultraviolet rays (UV) and ultraviolet exposure to the sun. Our doctors and medical groups are recommending that adults and kids, alike, follow sun safety guidelines and adhere to our summer safety tips. Cancer prevention and healthy living should be a big part of your fun-filled summer! Don’t let the dangers of sun exposure and eye damage ruin your life by causing premature aging, or cataracts, or worse, skin cancer and melanoma!
The following summer safety tips can help you enjoy the beach without guilt or worry. And more importantly without all the sun damage to your skin and just as important, to your eyes.
Minimize your Exposure to Ultraviolet Rays
Avoid direct sun when possible between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM and stay inside or in the shade. This is when the sun is brightest and you will receive way too much UV (ultraviolet rays). Sun also reflects from the water, sand,and even sidewalks. If you or your kids have to be in the direct sunlight during these hours take as many precautions as you can. Remember to practice sun safety and follow our summer safety tips in order to prevent permanent skin damage.
Always use Sunscreen or Sunblock and make sure it is an Effective Product
Always use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. A few years ago everyone thought the SPF15 was sufficient but studies are showing that SPF15 isn’t offering us quite enough sun protection. And sun safety for our child is number one on our list of sun safety facts so we want to be sure that the sunblock or sunscreen we are using has a large enough SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number to protect our health. Make sure the sunblock or sunscreen you use has broad spectrum characteristics which offers protection from both the UVA (uva rays) and also the UVB rays (uvb rays). Make sure to cover all exposed areas of your body with sunblock or sunscreen when you are outside tanning or just hanging out at the beach.
Know the new FDA Guidelines
There are new guidelines that are taking effect by the summer of 2012 that will include that all sunscreens labeled broad spectrum will have to be tested to the the minimum standard of UVA (ultraviolet rays) protection. All sunscreens will list their SPF rating..example, SPF15. But the products without the broad spectrum rating will only rate UVB protection. A better sunscreen, especially for kids, should be broad spectrum based since they need protection against both UVB and also UVA (ultraviolet rays) exposure. This is probably one of the best sun safety tips of this summer. I just hope these new sun safety tips are seen by everyone….so pass these sun safety facts to your friends too. Keep in mind that the higher the SPF the greater the protection you will have. Remember that sunscreens also need to be reapplied every few hours and always after coming out of the water. There are some sunscreens that claim to be water resistant and these sunscreens will now be labeled as such. Just another good sun safety fact .
Make sure that You and Your Family always wear Sunglasses
Another good sun safety tip that especially addresses kids safety is to always wear sunglasses with protective lenses to shield the eyes also from the UV (ultraviolet rays) Sun safety cannot be stressed enough in this area. I know many of us adults wear UV sunglasses but make sure your kids have UV sunglasses too. Don’t buy them that cheap pair of plastic glasses you see so often. Make sure they are rated UV also. An optometrist told me recently that the most damage to the eyes are done before the age of 18. I wish I had know that when I was a kid and my parents took me to the beach. I never wore sunglasses to protect from the UV (ultraviolet) rays. As a matter of fact sun safety for kids or anyone else wasn’t too popular back then. And nothing was ever mentioned about sun damage to the skin or eyes. No mention of sun damage at all. I wish there were some summer safety tips way back then, because I spent many days suffering from a sunburn…and unfortunately I am now showing some early signs of sun damaged skin. But there was no guidelines about kids safety then. There was no mention of sun safety!!
Wear Protective Clothing when exposed to the Sun
And one more tip …..make sure you and your kids wear protective clothing if you have to be in the sun and exposed to the UV (ultraviolet rays) during the hottest part of the day. Wear long sleeved shirts and light color clothes, and always wear a wide-brimmed hat. Wearing hats are fun and cool anyway, but are a definite must to protect your children. And be aware that some medications your kids may be using, increases the skins sensitivity to UV, ultraviolet rays. Especially light and fair skinned kids are at risk but it can effect even kids with darker complexions. They can develop a bad sunburn in a matter of minutes when using some medications. Again practice sun safety and kids safety always.
The Sun can Hurt your Child or Baby
And now we come to your new baby… Here are a few summer safety tips designed just for them… Your most precious thing in life has arrived ..your new baby. You are definitely the most proud mama in the world, and are doing everything for your new baby by the book. You are taking no chances and are referring to the experts for everything from nursing, sleeping,teething…..you name it, and you are reading every bit of research you can. Any questions or doubts, and you are calling friends and asking your doctor. So don’t take the sun for granted and neglect to give, sun and sunlight,a lot of thought also. We must all be made aware of sun safety. Many of the summer safety tips refer to infants.So make sure it is part of your baby reading list. Its most likely under sun safety facts or maybe just safe sun.. but its there.
Your baby should be kept out of the sun at all times before the age of 6 months. Babies are extremely susceptible to heat stroke, and to the short term and long term damage of sunburn. Just one case of sunburn in a child’s life raises their risk of the most deadly type of skin cancer which is melanoma. Heat stroke in babies (which is often referred to as sun stroke) happens when your baby gets overheated . Babies are very prone to this, since they are not yet capable of regulating their body temperature. This can happen whether they are out in the sun,riding in a car or just being over dressed. And most of us have had at least one sunburn in our lives. Imagine how painful this would be to your new baby…not to mention the danger of dehydration and fevers that are also symptoms of a baby with a sunburn. So sun safety for babies is a must.
So keep your babies out of the sun, especially between 10 am and 4 pm and be aware that babies can also be harmed with skin damage from sun exposure on cloudy and hazy days so stay in the shade during these hours. If you or your family must be in the sun, keep covered as much as possible in light protective clothing and a wide brimmed hat at all times.
Check with your Doctor or Pediatrician
And refer to the best sources and ask your pediatrician or doctor to recommend sun safety tips for babies….and in later years ask for safety facts and sun safety tips for your young children or older teen. Good information and research will keep your family safe from sun damaged skin and premature aging due to sun exposure.
I hope you have a wonderful and fun filled summer……but whatever you do whether its boating, camping, picnicking, tanning, or a day on the beach remember to maintain sun safety in the summer……I sure wish I had them back in the day.