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RN's Best Advice to Stay Sun Smart

06/05/13
RN's Best Advice to Stay Sun Smart

by Denise Del Colle, RN

The sun is vital to our physical health and mental well-being and living in Central Oregon offers an abundance of ways to enjoy our time outdoors. Yet, we must respect how the heat and harmful UV rays can easily cause life threatening conditions from over exposure today or lead to skin disease in the future. Being at higher elevation, we are at increased risk. Let's take care of ourselves and our little ones!

THE BIG WORD TO REMEMBER IS ‘PREVENTION

EXPOSURE - KEEP IT COVERED

  • Avoid exposure by providing regular shade, particularly to infants, during peak intensity, approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Dress infants in loose fitting, quick-to-dry long pants and long sleeve shirts with brimmed hats that extend over the face and neck.
  • It’s best for all kids to stay lightly covered while playing in the sand, dirt and water with clothing that can be quickly dried or changed to prevent a chill. Better dirty than burned.

SUNSCREEN - YES!

  • Apply sunscreen with at least 15 SPF to the face and back of hands, feet and all exposed areas, 30 minutes in advance of outdoor play. Fair skinned bodies need 30 SPF. Be liberal with sunscreen and apply lots!
  • Pay special attention to hot spots: ears, nose, cheeks,shoulders, knees, feet.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours if swimming or sweating.
  • Use extra caution around water as it will reflect UV rays and cause extra intensity under the hats into the eyes.\
  • Central Oregon may feel cool, but its sun’s rays are sizzling hot. You can still get burned on an overcast day from harmful rays seeping through those clouds.
  • Be meticulous about preventing sunburn. Don’t wait until the skin looks pink in the sun. You're too late!

HEATSTROKE - WATCH FOR IT

  • Drink plenty of water at least every 30 minutes of playing in the sun. Don’t let playing in the water substitute for drinking fresh water.
  • Call for a time out every hour of play for some rest and cooling off in the shade.
  • Take care not to stand in direct sun for extended periods,wear light clothing and a hat, with mesh, allowing for ventilation.
  • What to do if your child is sunburned or feels ill when outdoors:
    • If you see red, warm skin, treat with cool compresses or bathe in barely cool (not cold) water and take acetaminophen to help relieve the pain.
    • Serious sunburn will present with skin blisters.
    • Heat exhaustion may be present when the child has a hot dry skin, a fever, dizziness or headache. If any of these symptoms occur, call your pediatrician or go to the nearest medical facility. This condition in a child could lead to dehydration, infection, heatstroke and even hospitalization.

And, please have fun by staying safe and out of the clinic!


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