Did you know that even if it is overcast about 70% of the sun’s rays still make it through the clouds? This can cause issues as you might not be as careful with protecting your little ones from the sun and could lead to unintentional sunburns. The sun is at its strongest from about 11 am to 3 pm and reflects off snow (80%), sand (20%) and water (5%).
Sun lamps, tanning lamps or tanning beds: limit use of sun lamps to 15 minutes at a time, discontinue if you observe reddening of skin. Do not use tanning lamps or tanning beds for children.
A sunburn first shows up about 4 hours after sun exposure, so it is hard to gauge if there is an issue with excess exposure while you are out of doors with your child. A sunburn will usually be painful for about 2 to 3 days and you will probably see peeling skin 5 to 7 days after a burn.
Prevention is the best key to dealing with sunburns:
-don’t take your child out into bright sunlight for prolonged periods in the middle of the day (11 am to 3 pm)
-use a sun umbrella or stay in the shade
-dress your child in lightweight long sleeve/long pant clothing
-offer extra water or breastmilk/formula to help keep them hydrated
-cool baths can help reduce pain/inflammation (don’t use soap!) and you can add baking soda (2 ounces per regular sized tub or 1/8 ounce for an infant tub) or finely ground oats (same amount as the baking soda) to reduce inflammation even more.
-aloe vera cream: cream soaks into the skin better and has a cooling/soothing effect. Avoid the mouth and eyes.
If there is blistering:
-do NOT pop the blisters
-if the blisters pop on their own you can use alcohol sterilized nail scissors to carefully trim the skin and keep it from pulling further
-hydrocortisone cream to reduce inflammation: over the counter 1% cream can be very helpful to reduce pain and inflammation: do not get near mouth or eyes
-use a triple antibiotic ointment on the blisters to prevent secondary infection. Apply 2-3 times a day for the next 3 days.
Take your child to their primary care if there is:
-blistering on the face or on a significant amount of the body
-they are dehydrated (signs of severe dehydration include low to no urine output, inability to make tears when crying)
Dr. Corinne Harpster is a naturopathic physician who specializes in children and women's health. She is currently taking new patients and you can schedule an appointment by clicking here