Smiling safely in the sun!
The weather is really warming up, and if your kids are going to be out in the sun, they need to stay safe. Let’s find out how.
Skin Cancer rates are increasing. The rise in the incidence of skin cancer over recent decades has been strongly related to increasing popular outdoor activities and recreational exposure. Especially in regions such as the middle east where temperatures are high and sun exposure is year round.
Increasing sun exposure is accepted as an important underlying cause for harmful effects to the skin, eyes and even the immune system. Experts believe that four out of five cases of skin cancer could be prevented, as UV damage is largely avoidable.
The Sun is Strong…Fight Back!
Outdoor activity is not only enjoyable, it is great for your health. It improves cardiovascular fitness, increases your serotonin levels and provides a touch of essential vitamin D. The sun, however, can be a dangerous obstacle to overcome. There are many things you can do to keep you and your family safe outside.
Don’t be Scared. Be Prepared.
Adopt the following simple precautions:
- Cover up. Shade, clothing and hats provide the optimal protection as they hide you from the sun’s strong rays. Keep an eye on your shadow. Short Shadow, Seek shade!’
- Apply sunscreen all over. Even the areas covered with clothing. This prevents any sun ‘leaking’ in and allows you to remove clothing safely if you become too warm.
- Areas not to forget. Remember to apply sunscreen to hairlines, heads, tops of ears, tops of feet and lips – these areas are often forgotten about and common sites for skin cancer to develop.
- Top up! Sunscreen should be applied at least every 2 hours when outside. Top up more often when swimming or sweating. This applies for ‘water resistant’ or ‘water proof’ varieties.
- Use spf 30 and above for maximum sun protection.
- Limit sun time. Even though time in the outdoors can be good for you – limit your time in the mid-day heat. Try and retreat indoors between 10am and 4pm.
- Sunglasses need to provide 99 to 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
Most sun damage occurs before the age of 18. Just a few serious cases of sunburn significantly increases your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Children don’t have to be at the pool, beach, or on vacation to get too much sun. UVA is present everywhere, even on a cloudy day. Their skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they are outdoors.
Turning pink? Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes. Yet it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure. So, if your child’s skin looks “a little pink” today, it may be burned tomorrow morning. To prevent further burning, take your child out of the sun.
Tan? There’s no other way to say it, tanned skin is damaged skin. Any change in the color of your child’s skin after time outside — whether sunburned or suntanned —indicates damage from UV rays.
Cool and cloudy? Children still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays.
Oops! Kids often get sunburned when they are outdoors unprotected for longer than expected. Remember to plan ahead, and keep sun protection nearby—in your car, bag, or child’s backpack.
And remember to have fun.
Being safe in the sun doesn’t mean we extract the fun.