Summer has settled in, along with sun and heat. While everyone loves a bright, sunny day, sunburn is a real danger for kids and teens. If you live in a naturally hot area, have family members prone to sunburn, or need to brush up on sun safety, our pediatric team has some valuable tips for you.
Make Sure You Use Sunscreen
Prevention is vital. Be vigilant if you or your children have naturally fair skin or if your family spends a great deal of time indoors. The less sun exposure you have had recently, the more likely you are to inadvertently underestimate the sun’s strength.
Use sunscreen with SPF of 30 to 50, especially for young children. Make sure the sunscreen is waterproof. If your children are old enough, they can apply their own sunscreen. You should lotion vulnerable areas like their backs and faces. If you will be in the water for any length of time, have children come out about every 30-60 minutes to reapply sun block. Colored sunscreen can help younger children be sure they haven’t missed some areas.
Keep Your Cool
If sunburn does happen, don’t panic. It can easily be treated at home with quick cooling remedies. Have your child keep cool, damp cloths on affected areas for 10-15 minutes throughout the day. Gently apply lotions with aloe vera and other cooling ingredients. Do not use scented lotions or any creams containing petroleum jelly or lidocaine, as these irritate the skin and worsen sunburns.
Encourage your kids to drink plenty of water, since sunburn often causes dehydration. Stay away from sodas, juices, and sports drinks. If your child must be outside in the days following a sunburn, keep him or her in shaded areas, encourage him or her to wear sunglasses or a hat and continue to use sunscreen.
Don’t Burst the Bubble
Kids may be tempted to pop blisters if they arise or to pick at peeling skin. Discourage this; as this will make them more prone to infection. Give your child something to do with his or her hands instead, like squeezing modeling clay, reading a book, or petting the dog or cat. While sunburned skin heals, kids should wear tightly woven, comfortable clothing. Avoid silk, nylon, rayon, and lace.
Know When to Call the Doctor
Some sunburns may be severe enough to warrant medical attention. Get your child to the doctor immediately if he or she feels dizzy, nauseated, or weak. If sunburn pain doesn’t decrease with over-the-counter medication, see your pediatrician. If the skin swells up or is severely blistered, your doctor may send you to the ER.