At WCS, we regularly receive communications from our local Public Health Nurse. These messages range from cycling safety to immunization, nutrition, counseling, and, now that the warmer weather is here, sun safety. Here is the latest update from our local public health department.
The Canadian Cancer Society reports that 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood -- and that just one blistering sunburn can double the risk of getting melanoma later in life. Protect your children by following these tips recommended by the Canadian Dermatology Association.
1. Limit outdoor playtime between 11a.m. and 4 p.m. and when the UV index is 3 or higher. Avoid unnecessary exposure when the sun's rays are at their strongest. Even on cloudy or cooler days, ultraviolet (UV) rays remain strong. Shady spots can be just as tricky because of reflected light. If your child is playing outdoors during these hours, make sure to apply sufficient sunscreen.
2. Apply sunscreen properly. Generously apply sunscreen 30 minutes before your child goes out in the sun. Choose a sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 or higher. Scented and colorful sunscreens appeal to some kids and make it easier to see which areas have been covered well. Don't forget nose, ears, hands, feet, shoulders, and behind the neck; lips can also burn, so apply a lip balm with SPF protection. It is important to reapply sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours, or after sweating or swimming. Good sun protection habits will keep skin healthy while involved in an active outdoor lifestyle.
3. Cover up. Wearing protective clothing and hats is one of the most important ways of warding off UV damage. When wet, light-coloured clothing transmits just as much sunlight as bare skin. Keep your kids covered with dark colors, long sleeves, and pants whenever possible. And don't forget the accessories: sunglasses with UV protection to guard against burned corneas, and wide brimmed hats to prevent sunburned scalps and faces. Caps offer minimal protection. Sunglasses are just as important for babies. At the beach, bring along a large umbrella.
4. Keep watch on medications. Some medications increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun, so make sure to ask your doctor whether your child may be at risk. Prescription antibiotics and acne medications can create an increased risk so talk to your pharmacist or the doctor.
5. Set a good example for your kids. If your children see you following sun-safety rules, they will as well. Skin protection is important for every member of the family.
From: Oxford County Public Health and Emergency Services, WCS School Nurse, M. Condruk.