Throughout these posts, we are talking about all things Summer Safety. These posts contain information & resources that I have been able to compile as a fellow parent, but I am not a medical professional, & you should always seek professional help for any concerns. I also encourage you to use these resources as a starting point & do more research on any of your particular concerns as well. All of that being said… it’s summer, have fun!
We all know that we need to apply sunscreen to ourselves & our children before heading out into the sun, but what exactly do we need to do to prevent skin damage & protect ourselves against skin cancer?
According to the CDC, “the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes,” which is way faster than I would have thought! You can seek out shade while you are outside, but it is safer to use sunscreen and/or protective clothing while you’re outside because shade does not always offer complete protection.
You can get sun damage even on cloudy or cool days so it is recommended that you always put on sunscreen of at least SPF 15 before going outside.
- An even, thick layer is key to maintaining protection so try your best to apply well.
- Higher numbers of SPF indicate more protection, but you should at least use SPF 15.
- Sunscreen wears off with swimming, sweating, toweling off, or even just the passage of time. Reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
- Sunscreen expires! Most sunscreens list an expiration date, & if it doesn’t, it still won’t last more than three years. High temperatures can also affect your sunscreen & how well it protects you so it is a good idea to simply buy a fresh batch of sunscreen each year.
- Some makeup, moisturizers, lotions, lip balms, etc have SPF protection; however, if that SPF level is less than 15, you still need something else.
Interestingly enough, clothes offer a wide variety of protection & aren’t always reliable on their own. For example, your standard t shirt actually has an SPF rating of less than 15! Other factors also contribute to how protective your clothing may be such as...
- Tightly woven fabric is better
- Dry clothes are better than wet ones
- Darker colors are better than light ones
Normal clothes & coverups are fine if you are also wearing sunscreen, but you can also buy protective clothing meant to specifically block UV rays. Sunglasses & hats are also a great way to protect yourself from the sun & still have a great time!
Heat Related Illnesses
Children under four years old are at a higher risk for heat related illnesses. Even adults can suffer from the same things if they overdo it in hot weather!
- Never, ever leave children in a parked car (even if the windows are open).
- Dress children in lightweight, loose, & light-colored clothing.
- Avoid the heat of the day by doing outdoor activities in the morning or evening hours.
- Cool off with cool showers or baths (think pool temperature water)
Symptoms of Heat Related Illnesses: