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  • Writer's pictureMCMC

Youth and UV

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

July is Ultraviolet Ray Safety month. We all love summertime sunshine- going to the pool and all the summer activities. However, it is important to protect yourself from the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV rays), which can cause damage to your skin if left unprotected. Children are especially vulnerable to these dangerous rays when they spend a large amount of time in the sun without proper protection.

When we first think of protection from the sun, sunscreen is the first item that comes to mind. However, selecting sunscreen for children can be very tricky. Children have sensitive skin and not all sunscreens are created with this in mind. There are three major things to consider when selecting sunscreen for your child:

  • SPF 30 or above is recommended for effective protection.

  • Mineral sunscreens are widely regarded as less irritating for children’s skin. Ingredients within the sunscreen do not absorb into the skin like with other types of sunscreen, but instead sit on top of the skin and help block UV rays.

  • Water resistant sunscreen keeps children more protected when playing in the pool or playing on a warm summer day. Water resistant sunscreen should be reapplied often for optimal protection.

It is important to remember children six months and under should not wear sunscreen, but instead be kept out of the sun with protective clothing, hats and in shaded areas. Children who wear sunscreen should have sunscreen regularly reapplied throughout the day to maintain protection. Most sunscreens recommend reapplying at least every 2 hours, especially after swimming or sweating.

There are several other simple ways to help protect your children from the long-term effect of skin damage caused by UV rays:

  • Seek Shade: Remember to seek shade especially during the hottest parts of the day. Children have sensitive skin and even when sunscreen is worn, shade can help protect their skin.

  • Sunglasses and Hats: Wearing sunglasses and hats is not only fashionable but it is also a great way to help kids stay cool and protected. When selecting a hat, try to find a wide brimmed hat for the greatest protection. Sunglasses keep the UV rays from causing harm to children’s eyes. Make sure that the glasses you select have UV protection before purchasing for your child.

  • Dress for Success: Select clothing that is light colored to offer additional protection for your child. When selecting swim wear, consider swim shirts that will help protect shoulders and arms from the sun.

Outdoor family activities are what summers are for, but make sure you are keeping your child protected from the sun, while making those memories they’ll cherish. If you have any questions regarding sun safety for your child this summer, Murray County Medical Center is here to help! You can schedule an appointment with one of our providers to discuss skin protection and signs of damage by calling (507) 836-6111.

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