Dangers of Sunburns: Keeping Children (and Yourself) Safe

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Last updated on December 26th, 2019 at 11:55 pm

Sunburn is painful now and dangerous later, damaging not only the look of your skin but also increasing your risk of skin cancer. Although kids’ skin heals more quickly than adults’, children have a higher chance of suffering from a burn in the first place. Luckily, sunburn is completely preventable using the following methods, suggested by Mayo Clinic.

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Apply sunscreen and wear dark clothing and hats to keep from getting a sunburn. Source: Shutterstock

Preventing Sunburn

  • Stay out of the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM, when UV rays are at their most intense.
  • Cover skin with tightly-woven clothing in dark colors. Even better, seek out clothing with a UV protection factor (UPF).
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or above and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and shades.

Treating Sunburn

If you accidentally get burnt, here are a few tips to reduce the impact of your sunburn:

  • Seek shade and start treatment as soon as you feel the burn, which may begin as a tingling sensation or reddening of the skin, advises the Skin Cancer Foundation.
  • Take ibuprofen over 48 hours after you first notice your sunburn. This can reduce pain, swelling, redness, and even long-term damage.
  • Use a non-greasy moisturizer or calamine lotion (without antihistamine) to soothe skin, but avoid self-tanning lotions, which will stick to peeling skin, warns Dr. Draelos of Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to rehydrate.
  • Cool down in a tepid bath.
  • If sunburn is severe — for instance, it covers your entire back or leads to extreme pain, blistering, lethargy, or a fever over 101 Fahrenheit degrees — seek medical attention. For babies under a year old, any burn is an emergency and you should call your doctor immediately, says the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Your skin is not the only part of your body that can burn in the sun — you also need to protect your eyes from sunburn, called photokeratitis, as well as cumulative damage. Make sure that your kids always wear shades when they are heading outdoors; you can find a range of designs of protective kids sunglasses in the Real Kids collection.

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