Health News from Nurse Lynn: How to Stay Safe When Having Fun in the Sun

Lynn Friedman, RN – School Nurse

Another school year has come and gone so quickly. Summer is here and it’s great to spend more time outside, but if you’re going to be out in the sun, especially on a hot day, you need to keep your kids safe.

Those UV rays passing through the air and clouds can penetrate the skin and cause a sunburn.  Sunburns look bad and feel worse.  They can cause blisters on the skin.  They can increase the chance of getting wrinkly when we get older, but worst of all, an accumulation of sunburns over the years can cause skin cancer.

You should take, at least, these two steps to protect your children from the harmful rays of the sun:

1.     Always wear sunscreen and reapply frequently!!

2.     Take frequent breaks from the sun by going indoors or moving into the shade.

These steps are especially important between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when the sun’s rays are strongest. Use a sunscreen with an SPF rating or 30 or higher. Put sunscreen on 15 to 20 minutes before going out.  The SPF stands for the Sun Protection Factor and the number rating tells you how much longer you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned.  But that is not always true so make sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, more often if you have been sweating or swimming.  And don’t forget the tops of your ears, the back of your neck, the part in your hair, your face and the tops of your feet.  Hats and sunglasses also provide much needed protection. 

In addition to sun protection, drink up!  And don’t wait until you’re  thirsty.  We lose much water when we sweat and dehydration can set in fast.  Heat exhaustion can also come on suddenly and may cause your children to feel overheated, tired and weak.  At that point, get them out of the sun and provide plenty of liquids.

I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe and healthy summer. 

Lynn Friedman, RN – School Nurse