Summer is Here – Too Much Sun Hurts
Followers of my Facebook page (Hopkins County Family & Community Health) have already seen this information, but I thought it was worth repeating. With summer here, more and more people will be outdoors for vacation, swimming, or playing. Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Their skin needs protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they are outdoors. Follow these timely tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Seek shade: UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday, so it’s best to plan indoor activities then. If this is not possible, seek shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a pop-up tent. Use these options to prevent sunburn, not to seek relief after it has happened.
- Cover up: when possible, long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts can provide protection from UV rays. Clothes made form tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet t-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one. Some clothing certified under the international standards comes with information on its ultraviolet protection factor.
- Get a hat: hats that shade the face, scalp, ears, and neck are easy to use and give great protection. Baseball caps are popular among kids, but they don’t protect that ears and neck. If your child chooses a cap, be sure to protect exposed areas with sunscreen.
- Wear sunglasses: They protect your child’s eyes from UV rays, which can lead to cataracts later in life. Look for sunglasses that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible.
- Apply sunscreen: Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection every time your child goes outside. For the best protection, apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. Don’t forget the ears, nose, lips, and tops of feet!
Take sunscreen with you to reapply during the day, especially after swimming or exercising. This applies to waterproof and water-resistant products, as well. Follow the directions on the package for using a sunscreen on babies less than 6 months old. All products do not have the same ingredients. If your or your child’s skin reacts badly to one product, try another one. Your baby’s best defense against sunburn in avoiding the sun or staying in the shade. Keep in mind that sunscreen is not meant to allow kids to spend more time in the sun that they would otherwise.
Too much sun hurts. Are you turn pink? Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes, yet it can take up to 12 hours to show the full effect of sun exposure. If the skins looks “a little pink” today, it may be burned tomorrow morning. To prevent further burning, get out of the sun.
Are you tan? Tanning your skin is damaging skin. Any change in the color of your child’s skin after time outside – whether sunburn or suntan – indicates damage from UV rays.
Cool and cloudy? Children still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage. Clouds do not block UV rays – they filter them and sometimes only slightly. Kids often get sunburned when they are outdoors unprotected for longer than expected. Remember to plan ahead and keep sun protection handy in your car, bag, or child’s backpack.
So have fun this summer, but protect the skin you’re in!
If you have a student who just completed grade 5 or 6, we have a perfect summer event targeted toward them! The 4th annual Skills Camp is scheduled for Monday thru Thursday, July 16 thru 19, from 9:00 to 12:00 noon. This camp is a hands-on camp where participants will be involved in woodworking, photography, ceramics, and outdoor cooking. As of this writing, we only have 9 spots remaining. This camp will take place at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, 1200 W. Houston, Sulphur Springs, with the exception of Wednesday, July 18, which will take place at the ROC (notes will be sent home with camp participants. Camp fee is $15, which covers all four days. Please contact our Extension Office at 903-885-3443 for registration information.
A person can grow only as much as his horizon allows.