This giveaway is no longer accepting entries. Congrats to this week’s winner, Lexy!
When you’re getting ready to leave the house, you always make sure you have your keys, your wallet or purse, anything your children might need — but do you make sure you also have your SPF on?
Early summer is a great time to review the the in’s and out’s sun protection and why it could be one of the most important ways you can protect your kids.
You might think it’s too early to worry about skin cancer. But did you know that sunburn at an early age almost doubles the risk of melanoma in adulthood? And, melanoma is one of the most common cancers of young Americans. That’s why it’s important to establish a lifelong practice of sun protection at an early age, including these basic rules:
- Keep babies under 6 months of age away from direct sunlight as much as possible
- When possible, cover yourself and your children with comfortable, cool clothing. Tighter weaved clothes are more effective as sun shields than looser weaved clothing
- Go hat shopping from the youngest member to the oldest member of your family. Use wide-brimmed ones that cover the face and the neck.
- Go sunglass shopping. Make sure it has broad at least 99% UVA and UVB protection. It is not the designer label that counts- it is all about the UV label.
In addition to above measures, sunscreen is an important preventive measure. Please use it every day. When looking for sunscreen, here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Broad spectrum with UVB and UBV protection
- SPF of at least 15
- Look for rating stars which rank protection levels
- For children, use a sunscreen designed for children
- Please apply it about 15-30 minutes before exposure
- Use waterproof as desired but do not assume it really is fully waterproof. Reapply, reapply, and reapply. Read the bottle instructions.
- For more sensitive areas (nose and tops of ears) use products with zinc oxide or titanium oxide
- In general, reapply about every 2 hours
About once week, I am asked about sunscreen and the babies under 6 months of age. Use the protective measures discussed above (clothing, hats, shade). But if avoidance of the sun is difficult, you can use small amounts on the areas that will be exposure to the sun’s rays.
Even with the best protection, you can still get sunburn. Usually it is noticeable about 6-12 hours after the exposure. If the skin is only red and warm with some pain, you can apply cool compresses to area and bath your child in cool water. But if your family member has any change in her overall being such as a fever or feeling ill, or if the skin is noted to have blisters- you should call your physician.
A Word About Teens
One in four non-Hispanic Caucasian teenagers (13-19 years) has used a tanning facility at least once. The problem it that the UV radiation in salons can be as much as 10 times more than that from midday sun.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, World Health Organization and American Academy of Dermatology actually support legislation that would prohibit individuals under 18 years of age to tanning salons. And with good reason. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old, and the second most common form of cancer for young people 15-29 years old according to the National Cancer Institute.
As a precaution, teens should begin to inspect their bodies for moles and look for the A, B, C, D and E’s:
- Asymmetry: One half of the abnormal area is different from the other half.
- Borders: The edges of the growth are irregular.
- Color: Color changes from one area to another, with shades of tan, brown, or black, and sometimes white, red, or blue. A mixture of colors may appear within one sore.
- Diameter: The spot is usually (but not always) larger than 6 mm in diameter — about the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolution: The mole keeps changing appearance.
And if you have any questions, be sure to talk with your primary care physician.
Just as you try to instill healthy habits like brushing teeth, exercising and eating healthy, you should make sun protection just as important for your family. And remember, your kids might not do what you say, but they’ll often do what you do — model good behavior, wear sunscreen, and keep everyone healthy.
Prize: A beach bag filled with summer essentials. No substitutions.
Rules: Giveaway closes on Sunday, Juy 1, 2012 at 11pm CST. Open to Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois residents only. One entry per email address is permitted. The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Monday, July 2nd as an update to this post. Come back to Growing Up Healthy on Monday for the announcement of the winner and next week’s giveaway. Subscribe to the blog and you’ll get new posts delivered to your inbox as soon as they’re posted.