Time for another “Safe Summer” blog. This time I’d like to concentrate on swimming and sunburn. I found a few websites that I’d like to pass along: http://kidshealth.org has a website that has lots of information about swimming safety. You can read the information for parents or select the “kids” option and your children can either read or listen to the information. It explains things like “riptides” and what to do if you get caught in a riptide. I think it’s a great way to reinforce what you’ve already told them. The American Academy of Pediatrics also has some information on swimming safety on their http://healthykids.org website.
So, lets talk about sunburn. We all know that sunburns are to be avoided. The best way to do this is to apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming. Pick a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” on the label; that means it will screen out both UVB and UVA rays. Use a sunscreen of at least 15 SPF (up to 50 SPF). For sensitive areas of the body (nose, cheeks, tops of ears, shoulders) use a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Be sure to use a generous amount of sunscreen.
If you or your child does get a burn, here are a few ways to soothe the skin:
- Drink lots of water to replace lost fluids
- Use cool compresses on the burn
- Use Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for the pain
- Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment on the burn
- Stay out of the sun until the sunburn is fully healed
- Call the office if there is blistering, severe pain, your child seems ill or if your child is less than a year old
Article written by Sue Gaston, M.D.