Dr. Maha Haroon and Dr. Aakanksha Gera of Burleson Pediatrics share their tips for keeping your family safe in the summer sun.
Sun Safety Basics
While the Texas sun can be brutal all day, UV rays are at their peak, and most dangerous, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During these hours, try to minimize exposure as much as possible by limiting outdoor time to reduce your risk of sun damage and heat exhaustion.
How to Stay Protected
Both doctors agree: the best way to stay protected is to always wear sunscreen! In addition to wearing sunscreen, there are several ways to shield your family from sun burns all summer long.
Have your child wear light, comfortable clothing that is also sun protective. Long sleeves and pants may seem like an unusual choice, but they provide a great barrier against harmful UV rays. Complete the outfit with a fun sun hat with a wide brim to ensure their face stays shaded.
Infants who are younger than six months old should avoid direct sunlight to prevent sunburn and heat stroke. “Better to be under shade at this age,” said Dr. Haroon.
While sunscreen is typically recommended for babies older than six months, you can apply sunscreen to small, exposed areas of your infant’s body (i.e. face or the back of hands), if shade and protective clothing are not available.
When to Call Your Doctor
If your child does get a sunburn, it’s important to know when to call your pediatrician. If your infant is younger than a year old, call your doctor right away. “Always call your physician if the burn begins to worsen,” says Dr. Gera, “Or if your child begins to have blistering, pain or fever.”
To learn more about Burleson Pediatrics, please visit texashealth.org/thma or call 817/551-5539.
5 Sunscreen Tips (for your child age 6 months and older)
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and up to SPF 50. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays.
- Choose sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide; these ingredients are effective and safe options for your child’s sunscreen.
- Make sure to cover all exposed areas (face, ears, nose, hands, feet, etc.) about 15-30 minutes before sun exposure.
- Don’t forget to reapply every 2 hours! No sunscreen is 100% waterproof, so you should still reapply, especially after being in the water.
- Avoid the eye area in young infants and children, as your child may accidentally rub it into their eyes.
Part of Texas Health Medical Associates
4 Most Common Summertime Rashes
Healthy, summertime skin tips from Alina Olteanu, MD, PhD.
Imagine your children playing outdoors this summer! Imagine a summer with blue skies, white beaches, green meadows, and no red rashes! It is completely possible with a little bit of planning and some first-aid mommy-skills.
Integrative pediatric medicine is a healing paradigm that includes the best ways to treat children, by combining modern medicine methods with more natural healing options that are scientifically sound and safe. It also treats the whole child, spirit-body-brain, and relies on a strong therapeutic bond between the patient and the physician. For example, the medicine cabinet of a mom who would like an integrative medicine approach to summer rashes, would include both 1 % hydrocortisone cream and more natural, soothing salves like chamomile oil, calendula cream, colloidal oatmeal, coconut oil, or aloe vera gel.
Here are some important things you need to know about the 4 most common summer rashes in children:
1. Heat rash
- Occurs more commonly in babies and young children.
- Prevention includes getting babies outside in the mornings and evenings, when it’s not too hot outside, keep the moist areas like skin folds and diaper areas dry.
- Apply cool towels and keep skin moisturized.
2. Poison Ivy or other rashes induced by plants
- Teach children to recognize plants that easily induce rashes; show children pictures of poison ivy and poison oak and teach them “leaves of three, let them be.”
- If you suspect that your child was exposed, give them a bath and also keep their nails trimmed short so they don’t scratch.
- Apply soothing lotions to skin, like calamine lotion, chamomile or calendula creams, or 1 % hydrocortisone cream over-the-counter.
3. Insect bites: bees, wasps, fire ants, mosquitos, AND chiggers
- Inspect the areas where your children are playing outside, treat your garden for fire ants or chiggers, keep the grass cut if possible. Chiggers love tall grass!
- For best bug sprays for children, check out the Environmental Working Group website (see resources).
- Apply cold compress to reduce pain and swelling as soon as possible.
- Use the calendula, chamomile, and over- the-counter hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation.
- Eczema can flare-up in warm weather
- It is one of the chronic conditions that can be treated successfully with an integrative medicine approach that includes nutritional and lifestyle changes along with natural creams or prescriptions medications.
Most summer rashes can be treated at home, with natural remedies or mild over-the-counter creams. However, if the rash is severe or not improving, involves sensitive areas like the eyes or genital areas, children are uncomfortable and in pain, or if there are any signs of infections, like fever, or severe allergic reaction, like breathing difficulties, it’s always a good idea to talk with your pediatrician.
Visit Environmental Working Group’s website for great resources on sunscreen, bug spray, skin lotions: ewg.org.