Summertime has“officially” started and those long days of Summer are definitely upon us! Time will fly by as families spend hours of fun in the sun over the upcoming months. Pool parties, beach trips or just playing outside will certainly result in “sun-kissed” skin.
I’m Michelle Westbrook, LPN . I’ve been a nurse with ABC Pediatrics for 19 years. While we strongly recommend outdoor activities and family fun, it is very important to protect skin from sunburn. It only takes one severe sunburn to increase a child’s risk of developing melanoma (skin cancer) later in life.
Sunburn is defined as a form of radiation burn that affects living tissue, such as skin, that results from an overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It is commonly characterized by bright pink skin that turns white when pressed gently. As with any type of burn, the results negatively impact the body. In addition to the known skin findings, children can experience fever, pain, fatigue and irritability from even mild sunburn. If a sunburn occurs, moisturizing the skin with products containing vitamins A and E are key components in minimizing the damage to skin. Applying products containing aloe can also help soothe sunburned skin. Sunburn sufferers should drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration, get plenty of rest and avoid additional sun exposure.
The best plan of action is to AVOID sunburned skin from the outset. Sun protective clothing made of fabric that provides an Ultraviolent Protection Factor (UPF) of 15 or higher is my recommendation. And, when choosing a sunscreen for exposed skin, ensure that it is waterproof, provides broad- spectrum UVA/UVB protection and has a skin protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. Keep in mind that sunburn can occur on cloudy days and in shady areas. And, even waterproof and “sport” sunscreens should be reapplied every couple of hours for those enjoying water activities. Sunscreen sticks are great options for use on the face and they are less likely to drip and cause eye irritation.
Severe sunburn can be very serious. Please contact our office for an evaluation if sunburn results in fever, rash, blisters or whelps. Contact Bridget at (910) 892-1333, ext. 2231 to schedule an appointment or visit our walk-in clinic weekdays from 7:45am to 8:45am.
Enjoy the sunshine this summer with outdoor family activities, but do so responsibly to avoid the development of sunburn.
Michelle Westbrook, LPN