News Your Patients Can Use: AAD Offers Sun Protection Counsel in Advance of Independence Day Holiday Weekend

June 27, 2023
News Your Patients Can Use  AAD Offers Sun Protection Counsel in Advance of Independence Day Holiday Weekend image

Group also offers tips to help relieve discomfort from a sunburn.

Remind your patients to use sunscreen on the July 4th weekend and on the days, weeks, and months that follow.

A recent American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults revealed that one-third of American parents reported having a child who was sunburned in 2022. 

"The survey data is troubling because blistering sunburns and childhood sunburns greatly increase your risk of getting skin cancer, including melanoma, the most serious form," says A. Yasmine Kirkorian, MD, FAAD, chief of dermatology at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., in a news release. "To some extent, I think parents are aware of the need for sun protection, but at the same time are falling short of adequately protecting their children."

People can avoid sunburn by seeking shade, remembering that the sun's rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., she saiys. Additionally, people should wear a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible.

The third component of sun protection is applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing and reapplying every two hours or after swimming or sweating, adds Dr. Kirkorian.

"I tell parents to make sure that their children are willing to apply sunscreen themselves," says Dr. Kirkorian. "For their faces in particular, it's often best to try a stick sunscreen because it's easier to apply. I also recommend that they tell their children to go inside to rest during the times of the day when the sun is the strongest."

If you get a sunburn, begin treating it as soon as possible, so the best thing to do is get out of the sun and go indoors, she said.

Dr. Kirkorian and the AAD recommend the following tips to help relieve discomfort from a sunburn:

  • Take frequent cool baths or showers to help relieve the pain. 
  • Use a moisturizer that contains aloe vera or soy to help soothe sunburned skin. 
  • Consider taking aspirin or ibuprofen to help reduce any swelling, redness and discomfort.
  • Drink extra water
  • If your skin blisters, allow the blisters to heal. 
  • Take extra care to protect sunburned skin while it heals. 

"If your skin starts to blister and you feel unwell from the blisters or heat exhaustion, then you should seek care from an emergency room," says Dr. Kirkorian. "Similarly, if the blisters are very large, you'll want to seek medical care. If you have any questions about ways to properly protect yourself and your family from the sun, partner with a board-certified dermatologist."

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