According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, kids who get one, blistering sunburn double their chances of developing melanoma. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that adults use at least one ounce of sunscreen, but there’s no set amount for growing children. The important thing is to cover all exposed areas — especially ears, tops of feet, backs of knees and hands.
Regardless of age or skin type (whether or not your skin burns easily), the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone apply a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays every day of the year — even in winter and on cloudy days.
- Wearing protective clothing and hats is one of the most important ways of warding off UV damage. Wet, light-colored clothing transmits just as much sunlight as bare skin.
- Keep your kids covered with dark colors, long sleeves and pants whenever possible.
- Wear sunglasses with UV protection to guard against burned corneas and hats to prevent sunburned scalps and faces.
- Protective clothing, hats with brims and sunglasses are just as important for babies. At the beach, bring along a large umbrella.
Heat Safety and Hydration: staying hydrated in hot weather can help reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses.
- Water and sports drinks (drinks that contain electrolytes) are the best options for hydrating kids. Avoid sodas, juice and other fruit drinks. The National Alliance for Youth Sports recommends choosing beverages that contain 100 mg or more of sodium and 28 mg or more of potassium in an eight-ounce serving. If choosing sports drinks, watch out for high sugar content.
- Try to stay in a shady or air-conditioned location during the hottest parts of the afternoon.
- Kids are also at risk for heat illnesses if left in a hot car — even if the windows are cracked and it’s only for a few minutes. Never leave a child unattended in a car.
Click here for more summer safety tips.
Image source: keeppy.com
A photomicrograph of superficial keratinocytes or skin cells. Image courtesy of Thomas Deerinck, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research, UC San Diego.
What Happens When We Sunburn
Researchers describe inflammatory mechanism for first time
The biological mechanism of sunburn – the reddish, painful, protective immune response from ultraviolet (UV) radiation – is a consequence of RNA damage to skin cells, report researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and elsewhere in the July 8, 2012 Advance Online Publication of Nature Medicine.
The findings open the way to perhaps eventually blocking the inflammatory process, the scientists said, and have implications for a range of medical conditions and treatments.
“For example, diseases like psoriasis are treated by UV light, but a big side effect is that this treatment increases the risk of skin cancer,” said principal investigator Richard L. Gallo, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. “Our discovery suggests a way to get the beneficial effects of UV therapy without actually exposing our patients to the harmful UV light. Also, some people have excess sensitivity to UV light, patients with lupus, for example. We are exploring if we can help them by blocking the pathway we discovered.”
Using both human skin cells and a mouse model, Gallo, first author Jamie J. Bernard, a post-doctoral researcher, and colleagues found that UVB radiation fractures and tangles elements of non-coding micro-RNA – a special type of RNA inside the cell that does not directly make proteins. Irradiated cells release this altered RNA, provoking healthy, neighboring cells to start a process that results in an inflammatory response intended to remove sun-damaged cells.
We see and feel the process as sunburn.