Sunburn is a preventable injury
By Dr. Angela D’Alessandro,
Pediatrics, Physicians’ Primary Care
Sunburn is a common skin injury that can occur when skin is exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
UV radiation can damage the DNA and skin cells, causing inflammation and pain. Sunburn can also lead to premature aging, wrinkles, and skin cancer. Children are especially at risk for sunburn because their skin is thinner and more delicate than adult skin.
There are steps you can take to prevent sunburn in children. First, keep children out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, usually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Apply sunscreen thirty minutes before going outside with an SPF of 50 or higher to all exposed skin, including the face, neck, ears, hands, and feet. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more if your child is swimming or sweating. Wear protective clothing, such as a hat, sunglasses, and long sleeve shirts and pants.
“Rashguard” shirts come in fun colors and styles and have built-in UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). Protect babies with brimmed hats and lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs. Keep infants cool, hydrated, and out of direct sunlight. Currently, the FDA and the American Academy of Pediatrics do not recommend sunscreen for children under 6 months of age. Lastly, while outdoors, seek shade under trees, umbrellas, or other structures, especially if spending long periods outdoors.
If your child does get sunburnt, you can help to relieve the pain and inflammation. Apply a cool, wet cloth to the sunburn area and consider giving your child over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Keep your child hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after an outing in the sun. Aloe and other moisturizers help with skin irritation, are soothing, and can prevent dryness. (Aloe can be grown in a pot on your porch). If your child’s sunburn is severe, or if they have any blisters, you should see a doctor. They may need to prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection or advanced care for blistered skin.
Sunburn is a preventable injury. A sunburn can occur in as little as 11 minutes in our area during peak hours. By taking the necessary precautions, you can help protect your child from the harmful effects of the sun while enjoying the Southwest Florida outdoor lifestyle and all that our beachside community has to offer.
Dr. Angela D’Alessandro is with Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida) with offices throughout Lee County. www.ppcswfl.com