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Offered by Kristine Waters Ray, MD, CAQSM, Premier Pediatrics

The sun is out and hopefully so are we. As we are spending more time outdoors now that the rain has stopped, we need to remember sunscreen. Ultraviolet radiation is the cause for the three major forms of skin cancer and both UVA and UVB rays can cause damage. Recent studies show that the number of cases of melanoma has increased by 250% since the 1970s.

The best protection is a “Broad Spectrum” sunscreen that protects from both UVA and UVB rays. SPF greater than 50 likely does not offer any additional protection. Products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are best and should be applied 15 to 30 minutes prior to going outdoors.

In kids younger than 6 months, it is best to avoid sun exposure. If you have to be outdoors with young infants, minimize time spent in sun, put them in sun protective clothing and use sunscreen on areas of exposed skin.

The UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm and rays can bounce off water, snow, sand and concrete. Don’t forget to use sunscreen on cloudy days too, up to 80% of the rays will break through cloud cover. Remember to re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours for the most protection and help kids to make sure small spots such as ears and necks are not missed.

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