Health note­book

How to pre­vent sun­burn With a lit­tle knowl­edge, you’ll learn how to deal with com­mon ill­nesses and con­di­tions

Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Contents -

How to pre­vent sun­burn, plus ways to treat a fever

What is it?

Sun­burn oc­curs when the skin is ex­posed to too much ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV) ra­di­a­tion. Be­cause a baby’s skin is so sen­si­tive and del­i­cate, it can start to burn af­ter just 15 min­utes. UV dam­age can­not be seen or felt and it can hap­pen even on cool, cloudy days. While a healthy dose of sun­shine is im­por­tant for ev­ery­one’s health – too lit­tle UV can lead to low vitamin D lev­els – too much UV ex­po­sure can cause not only sun­burn, but skin and eye dam­age, and in­crease the risk of skin cancer.

What are the symp­toms?

Sun­burn varies from mild red­ness on the skin to se­vere blis­ter­ing, pain and swelling. As the sun­burn heals, it may blis­ter, and then the skin gets dry and itchy and be­gins to peel.

How can it be pre­vented?

The best way to pre­vent UV dam­age is the good old slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. That means slip­ping on clothes that cover as much of your child’s skin as pos­si­ble, slop­ping on a broad-spec­trum, wa­ter­re­sis­tant sunscreen with an SPF30+ or above, and slap­ping on a broad-rimmed, bucket or le­gion­naire-style hat. “You can ap­ply sunscreen to young ba­bies, but we do not rec­om­mend it as the first form of pro­tec­tion,” says pro­fes­sor Sanchia Aranda, CEO of Cancer Coun­cil Aus­tralia. “Just ap­ply it to small ar­eas that are not cov­ered, such as the face and hands.” Seek out shade for your lit­tle one, and avoid go­ing out dur­ing the hottest times of the day (10am to 3pm). You can down­load the free SunS­mart app (iTunes & Google Play), which tells you when UV lev­els are high and sun pro­tec­tion is rec­om­mended for your lo­ca­tion. Lastly, slide on some shades and en­sure they meet Aus­tralian stan­dards.

What can you do?

“If your baby or child has mild sun­burn, you can treat it by ap­ply­ing a cool, damp muslin or cloth nappy to the skin,” says Sanchia. “Of­fer plenty of wa­ter (or breast­feeds) as the real risk with sun­burn is de­hy­dra­tion. For an older child, you can ap­ply a light mois­turiser, but don’t use any­thing that masks the skin as it will be harder to see any red­ness or blis­ters, and don’t ap­ply to ba­bies un­der the age of one.” You can also of­fer your child parac­eta­mol or ibupro­fen to re­duce the pain and swelling. Make sure to fol­low the di­rec­tions on the packet.

When to see your GP?

“For any­thing more than a pink tinge on the skin, or blis­ter­ing, see your GP, par­tic­u­larly in the case of young ba­bies,” says Sanchia. Other symp­toms to watch out for in­clude fever, nau­sea, vom­it­ing or headaches.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.