Sunburn What Is It? Is there a simple explanation? Or is it too simple to just say “that red skin that you see after you have been out in the sun too long?”
Then I imagined myself talking to my grandson trying to help him understand why he needs to protect his skin. Why this is so dangerous for him.
At that point, I realized how many questions I had about what a sunburn is. If I can’t make an 8-year old understand, there is more research to do.
OK- Sunburn What Is It Plan B
I know about the red skin, some of the other symptoms, but the words aren’t lining up for me. I need to be able to help our grandson realize how important this information is for him and his future. He is the one who will be living in this world with increasing sunburn risks.
So hopefully this will help you as you get your mind around how our world is changing. Maybe we can help your youngsters to understand. They have to help protect themselves from sunburn risks that have increased due to climate change.
Sunburn is like other burns. Sunburn will damage your skin. It can make an open sore, similar to a skinned knee or elbow.
Sunburn happens when we are in the sun too long and don’t use sun blocking clothing or sunscreen.
We can and should use sunscreen and sun blocking clothing at the same time. Use sunscreen on the face, neck, ears, nose, and tops of your hands.
Adding a long sleeve shirt and a wide-brimmed hat. is great protection. This makes it easier to apply sunscreen to exposed areas that you can reach by yourself.
I need to make him understand that sunburn happens when he is in the direct rays of the sun too long, or without protecting his skin. Make sure he knows what “exposed skin” means. Actually, remind my self what skin needs protection even when you have my regular clothes on.
He will need some information about how to protect himself. How to use sun blocking clothing and sunscreen to block the sun off his skin.
Kids aren’t dummies. They don’t want to be uncomfortable with sunburn. We have just been too casual in our family, not realizing what is happening. How can he understand when we are not always good about using sun protection properly ourselves?
Now For Why
Ok, so we have the basics of what we want from them. We want them to use sunscreen and sun blocking clothing. How do you explain WHY we are asking these kids to do something different? To become more aware of why we should be protecting our skin from the sun? We have been doing just fine up to now. What is the big deal?
For me, that answer is because most of the damage that causes skin cancer happens when you are fairly young. Then for most of us, this exposure to the sun continues throughout our life.
Eventually, it shows up as skin cancer. We need to get the message to our kids while they are young. Before they are out doing what kids do without thinking about skincare. At 8 it is difficult to call out a reminder every time he is in and out of the house. It can be a quick ride on his bike that turns in to 2 hours because a couple of neighborhood buddies show up.
However, I don’t think cautioning against skin cancer is enough information to get his help in this effort. He needs to understand why.
Remember, these kids are living in a world where climate change is making them sunburn quicker. The Ozone is disappearing! Hopefully, their generation will figure out a way to make a difference.
My generation has many members who refuse to accept the possibility of the warming earth. They accept no responsibility for what is happening.
Sunburn accelerates skin aging and is a leading cause in the majority of cases of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Sunburn is bad news, but the good news is that it’s totally preventable. And the best time to start is today./skin cancer .org
When the sun shines on unprotected skin too long, your body will cause the blood to flow to the area. Your body is starting to try to repair the sunburned area. I understand this as an adult. But I didn’t as a child, and I don’t think my grandson does either.
Calling All Histamines
The blood rushing to the area causes it to look red. This increased blood flowing to the area will also feel warm to the touch. At this point you body will release histamines that were in your blood. Histamine alerts the other cells that something is wrong. Some part of your body is hurting.
The other cells will try to help the upset histamines flowing in your blood stream calm down. The histamines help your body to know that s healing process needs to start. Our bodies are programed to repair itself.
When you are hurting, it is because these histamines realize that an injury has occured. The histamines are screaming for your body to do something. Your body will respond with healing procedures to the place needing repair.
To calm histamines, our bodies will produce antihistamines. They will work to first alert our bodies. Then antihistamines to calm the histamines down. As the body heals, there will be fewer histamines, and the antihistamines won’t be needed.
OK, I think our 8-year old will understand the process.
The sun rays become more dangerous at 10 AM and remain so until 4 PM in most parts of the world. If you are on the water, or a sandy beach or even in snow that reflects the rays, the hours of danger may be longer.
When you get too much sun on your skin, it will turn red. Be tender or painful when touched. It will feel hot. This usually happens just a few hours AFTER you have been in the sun too long.
The Ultraviolet or UV rays from the sun are the usual cause. However, it can be caused by tanning beds or sunlamps, for adults.
While I think this is important for adults to be aware of, this is not something that I will worry a lot about for trying to help with my grandson. Hopefully, he will have adults around who can help him make good decisions right now.
I am just wanting to share the information to help prevent those first sunburns. At his age that seems important right now. He can learn to use sunscreen and wear his hat and long sleeved shirt.
When you hear the term “sun poisoning” it will most often be in reference to a case of severe sunburn. This is usually the result of a lengthy exposure to the sun.
Normally you will realize that you are overexposing your skin to the sun. Overexposure often happens when you are engaged in work. Or competition sports or some other activity that engages you for a longer than usual time.
If you are extra sensitive to the sun, you can develop a case of sun poisoning or a rash on your skin. This condition is also know as polymorphic light eruption.
Again, this normally occurs when those who are super sensitive to the sun. This condition can be dangerous if you are one who is super sensitive.
Our True Story
Our oldest son had “sun poisoning” when he was about 7-months old. We didn’t realize what it was. It took just a few minutes in the sun.
A cool washcloth and shade restored the healthy skin in about an hour. At 7 months old with summertime coming on. His skin was not yet ready for sun exposure like this, he did get a bit fussy. Getting in out of the sun with something cool in his water bottle worked to make him feel better.
He was very young, and his skin was still developing. He chose to be a rafting guide for a season on the Green River after graduating college. His skin still burns easy, and he does protect himself with both sun blocking clothing and sunscreen.
However, the earlier in life exposures to the sun, resulting sunburns, and parents who were not good about modelling good skin protection have lasting damage. You can’t undo the damage the sun has done to your skin. But you can take care for the future.
So don’t disregard the condition. Pay attention, and watch for other symptoms that can accompany it. You may need to see a doctor.
If your severe sunburn is accompanied by headache, fainting, vomiting, or a very high fever, you should visit the ER. These symptoms may indicate a more serious condition, such as heatstroke, which can be extremely dangerous..
So What Is Sunburn?
How am I going to share my concerns with my grandson?
This is going to be done in layers, or smaller sections at a time. We will need to talk about taking care of his skin. Discuss protecting his skin from the sun.
I think I will use a checklist to visit with him. I want to make sure we cover the main subjects. We will probably need to visit this subject more than one time about protecting his skin.
This can help us stay on track. Another thing that is obvious, this is an education, and will take a while to complete. Even with a smart, eager, willing grandkid like we have, there is a lot to get through to him.
The loss of the Ozone layer is making a difference I had no clue about. I am also having to learn.