What Your Parents Never Told You About Sun Dangers is a sharing of sun facts to keep you and your kids safe in the sun.
Sun safety is important and you probably think you’re on the ball when it comes to sun safety. Let’s review to see if you have forgotten anything. Remember, your parents couldn’t teach you what they didn’t know.
You always put sunscreen on your kids, before swimming or going to the beach. Neither your nor your kids come home with a sunburn. Well not too often.
But what about the times they are out playing and you realize that they have been out longer than you thought. Their noses and cheeks are definitely a bit red.
You think that just a little overdone is not bad, and it isn’t. Not just this one time. However, how many times has this happened through the summer?
New research is finding that overall sun exposure in childhood, not just our sunburns, significantly increases the risk of skin cancer.
Young, developing skin may be particularly vulnerable to UV rays. Your kids are still working on growing healthy skin until they are at least 12 years old! Some are more venerable until they are 20 or so. There is not a sign that lets us know that we are done with skin maturation. Protect your skin.
If your child is getting intense sun exposure playing outdoors, he or she is in danger of developing melanoma. This is the most serious type of skin cancer.
And yes, even if she has what appears to be a healthy tan. Childhood melanoma is rare. Most cases don’t show up until adulthood. It is worth noting that the number of kids diagnosed has been increasing almost 3 percent every year.
Another thing that is startling is that if your kids get too much sun occasionally, you as a parent probably do too. All those sun exposures add up for both kids and adults. You both are in line for one of you to have skin cancer soon.
If becoming aware of the dangers of the sun makes you want to grab your kids and move into a cave, don’t panic.
What You Can Do
There are many things you can do to keep all of you safe.
While all outdoor play activities may not allow your child to wear a hat, sunglasses can start their protection from too much sun. A long sleeve loose fitting sun blocking shirt will keep your child safer without having to worry about sunscreen.
*Make sure your kids have playground-proof sunglasses. A safety strap is also a good addition to the sunglasses.
Any step you can take to protect their arms and the trunks of their bodies is a plus. Our arms are one of the first places skin cancers start. Noses, ears, foreheads, and necks are other locations for skin cancer to appear early on.
In one study involving more than 300 kids:
Found that when kids wore sunscreen while they were outside for longer than 30 minutes grew significantly fewer moles than kids who wore sunscreen sporadically or not at all.
(The more moles a child has, the greater his lifetime risk of skin cancer.)
By changing the times your kids play in the sun is important. Limit the time your kids are in the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM. Making sure they wear protective clothing. Including a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) shares some real-world ways to help protect your family and still have fun this summer.
13 Ways The Sun Affects Your Body
When considering these13 Ways the Sun Affects Your Body, we are including The Good & The Bad and The Ugly!
The sun does often get a bad rap for only having negative effects on our health. The sun actually has several positive effects on your overall health.
Most dermatologists tell us that like many other things, sunshine should be enjoyed in moderation. This is how we can avoid painful sunburn, heat rash, wrinkles, and skin cancer.
So let’s consider the good for you stuff.
Positive Effects of the Sun
1. Improves Your Mood
Dermatologists tell us there are many benefits from being in the sunlight.
Most of us realize that getting out on a beautiful sunny day makes us feel better. So it is good that understand the actual reasons for that. You can sneak in a quick restful 20-minute sun-break!
Who knew tnat the sun is a free mood enhancer. Being out in the sun can make people feel better and have more energy. Sunlight increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is associated with improved mood.
Not surprisingly, serotonin levels are highest in the summer. Get that quick picker-upper about 9:30 AM.
2. The Sun Can Treat Your Seasonal Depression
For some of us, the lack of sunlight in the winter seems to trigger depression.
Symptoms 0f this kind of depression can include:
- Bad Moods
- Poor social interactions
This kind of depression rarely occurs in the warmer months, or is not as severe.
Seasonal depression, formerly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, can be improved any time of the year. Just spending some 20 or so minutes on a regular basis in the sun.
3. Stress Releaver
We all experience stress for various factors.
- Family related stress
- Work and the stresses that go with employment
- Health issues.
The stress in our lives can be reduced in a variety of ways.
- Exercise had long been recognized as a great stress reducer.
- Relaxing hobbies is an under appreciated stress reducer.
- Walking your dog is hard to beat for a regular way to help your stress.
- Add to these universally recogninzed stess reducers, getting out into the fresh air for some 20 to 30 minutes of sunshine.
4. Improves Sleep
Sunlight exposure tells your brain when to make melatonin.
As it begins to get dark, your brain stops the melatonin production. Signaling sleeping time.which is what tells your brain when it is time for your to sleep.
Then it gets dark, you start producing melatonin so you are ready to sleep in about two hours.
When we have more sunlight in the summer, you may feel more awake.
Researchers who work with sleeping problems point out that our modern technology allowes us to add light exposure artificially with lights, TV screens and computer screens as well as your tablet and cell phone.
Science is telling us that the incidence of insomnia is much higher now than it was before these devices were invented. Are you guilt of too long with TV or other devices and are experiencing sleep issues.
May be time for a life style change, and no screen time for a couple of hours before time for sleeping.
5. Vitamin D
An important vitamin for healty bones is Vitamin D. Your kids need some sun exposure for healthy bone growth. You need this vitamin D for keeping your bones strong and healthy.
Then senior citizens usually find that their bodies don’t make enough calcium without enough sunlight to stimulate vitamin D production. This is a live well tip. Healthy bones need sunlight.
However, you don’t need much time in the sun to enjoy the benefits. Only 15 minutes of sun exposure will provide all the Vitamin D you need.
This is one vitiman that you can store in your body for a short while. 3 or 4 times a week is usually enough.
Wear your sunglasses, sun hat and have your sun blocking shirt ready to slip on after your 15 or 20 minutes.
The whole idea is a little will go a long ways. Often we seem to think that if you can’t stay out half a day it isn’t worth the effort. This is another life style change that can keep you healthy and happier. Short excursions in the morning sun several days a week.
Now For The Negative Effect Of the Sun
6. Damage to the Eyes
When you are in the sun with little and no protection for your eyes the sun can damage the retina. As time goes by this damage will cause you some sight problems.
The retina is the back of the eye, where reflections of the rods and cones make visual images. These images are then sent to the visual centers in the brain. These images will become distorted, if your eyes aren’t protected.
After a few years, damage from exposure to sunlight can also cause the development of cloudy bumps around the edge of your cornea. These bumps can then grow over the cornea like scar tissue and prevent clear vision.
This form of yourvision being cloudied and unclear is known as cataracts.
UV light is a key factor in the development of cataracts. The eye has been exposed to the UV light too many times. These usually occur in adults from age 55 on.
So your sunglasses are your best friend. Be sure and keep them handy, even just to go out to the mailbox.
Did you know that sunglasses are considered a sun blocking sun garment? Your sun blocking hat and your sunglasses are the 2 most important parts of a sun blocking wardrobe. A lose fitting long sleeve shirt is #3.
Your kids need to develop the habit of sunglasses and hat as well.
7. Heat Exhaustion
Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us that heat exhaustion is our body’s response to extreme events.
There has been an excessive loss of water and salt. Normally this loss occurs through excessive sweating.
People working in a hot environment are at risk of heat exhaustion.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion can include:
- Feeling very thirsty
- Heavy sweating
- Elevated body temperature
- Decreased urine output
This is a dangerous condition, and when you have heat exhaustion, you may not be thinking clearly and be unable to ask for help.
We have to help each other, as well as be alert for early symptoms. Once you notice one or more, get out of the heat into a cool place. Drink water and maybe take a cool shower to cool down.
Your body is in the first stages and is heating faster than you can cool down. You have to help yourself stay safe. Awareness is important.
8. Heat Stroke
When heat exhaustion is left untreated, it can lead to heat stroke.
Heat stroke is a very serious heat-related illness. At this point the condition can quickly become life-threatening.
The CDC reports that heat stroke causes the body’s temperature to rise quickly.
Your temperature can reach 106 degree Fahrenheit within 10 to 15 minutes.
Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention because if it is left untreated, it can cause death or permanent disability. If you notice any kind of heat stress try to help by offering water, mopping forehead with a cool damp cloth or call 911 immediately.
If you see my grandson having any form of heat stress please call help immediately. Kids who are active in sports programs need extra eyes watching.
If you mowing the grass, and feel faint, get to some shade immediatly. We do have to watch out for those who are being extremely active, especially in hot and humid conditions.
Having my kids in sports in eastern NM, we didn’t have enough humidity to have this happen often. We could catch it at the heat exhaustion level.
Now as a senior adult, I find that I am overheated quickly in the humidity.
And, before I forget, here are the symptoms of heat stroke:
- Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness (coma)
- Hot, dry skin or extra heay sweating
- Seizures (jerking of arms, hands, feet, and legs.) as well as body convulsions.
Widely recognized as a serious condition resulting from too much sun, sunburn, like heat stroke can be dangerous.
The full blown symptoms of sunburn do not usually appear until about four or five hours after the sun exposure occurs.
Ultraviolet rays are the cause of sunburn. You can get sunburn from being out in the sun too long. And your can get sunburn if you are in a tanning bed.
These are the symptoms of sunburn:
- Redness of your skin
- Pain/tenderness where you skin was exposed to the sun
- Swelling, this happens where your skin was in the sun
- Your skin may feel warmer all over, even the parts that were covered.
- Flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, fever, chills or headache
When you notice you have a sunburn fever, it’s time to get help from a medical professional.
Besides a fever, severe burns also involve significant pain and extensive fluid-filled blisters.
10. Heat Rash
A heat rash occurs when sweat ducts trap perspiration under your skin.
Heat rash most often happens during hot, humid weather. The CDC reports that heat rash often looks like red clusters of pimples or small blisters.
Heat rash can develop in skin folds, elbow creases, the groin or on the neck and upper chest. Sometimes babies will have a heat rash on their cheeks as well.
Heat rash can occur without direct exposure to the sun light.
Take care of your heat rash by staying in a cool environment to prevent sweating and by keeping the affected area of skin dry.
To help relieve the symptoms of heat rash, the CDC suggests using powder to increase comfort.
However, it is not advised to use ointment or creams.
11. Skin Cancer
Researchers report that the worst consequence of long-term exposure to the sun is the development of skin cancer.
Because the sun damage to the skin develops over years, the older you are, the greater the risk of developing skin cancer.
After years of exposure to the sunlight, health care providers look for three common types of skin cancer.
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Malignant melanoma
Remember, skin cancer is the result of accumulative damage from the sun.
12. Basal Cell Carcinoma, or (BCC)
Basil Cell Carcinoma almost always occurs on sun-damaged skin. This skin has had repeated exposure and is usually pink, shiny and raised.
Because you skin becomes very soft, after repeated exposure, it may be easily injured. This makes the basal cell carcinoma appear as a scab that keeps returning in the same spot.
Basal cell carcinoma is especially common in the beard area of men where they use a razor. The razor continues to take the top off the cancer.
Although BCC doesn’t generally spread, it does get bigger and deeper over time and can become a problem if ignored.
This area is an area that with the repeated shaving and sun exposure, the skin is weakened, and after a while can’t heal properly. The skin cells will not lay down and be smooth and flat as before. There is a bump or raised place that is continually overexposed and mistreated.
People who smoke can also develop a similar weak spot where the hold the cigarette and the smoke raises over the area.
I had one from wearing a ring that turned and twisted, making a spot on my finger that got a crust looking growth. It was on my right hand were I get most sun exposure from driving and having my hands on the steering wheel for hours at a time. My dermatoligist removed it several years ago.
13. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SC)
This particular skin cancer is also caused by exposure to the sun. It can also occur in burn scars. (from either heat or radiation treatment)
It can also occur if you have chronic ulcers of the skin.
In a small number of cases, SCC can spread to the lymph nodes and (rarely) to other organs.
These kind of skin cancer can vary in severity and may require special surgical treatments. The Mohs Surgery, is most common for removal, if they are large or in difficult-to-treat areas.
My husband had to have extensive repair whe the Mohs Surgery was used to remove the Squamous cell carcinoma from his ear. The style cap he favored so many years left his ears bare to the sun way to many times.
14. Malignant Melanoma (A Bonus Fact)
Melanoma is the least common of these skin cancers.
However, it is increasing every year, especially in young women between the ages of 18 and 29. This is thought to be because of the high rate of tanning bed use in this age population.
Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer. Melanoma can occur any where on your body where there are pigment-producing cells.
This includs your entire skin (it does not have to be in direct sun-exposed areas, but sun exposure increases the risk).
It can be in moles, or your birthmarks. Even in your eye. Melanoma can spread to lymph nodes and beyond to other organs, including your brain, lungs and liver.
Melanoma is much more common when there is a history of abnormal moles or malignant melanoma.
If you have had melanoma, you have a significant risk of developing other melanomas.
15. Wrinkles And Early Skin Aging
We usualy associate wrinkles with aging. Sun exposure is a significant factor in wrinlke development. For those who stay tanned or work out in the sun and don’t protect their skin, they will appear much earlier than they should.
UV light damages collagen and elastic tissue in the skin, so it becomes fragile. Soon your skin does not spring back into shape. The resulting sagging will add years to your true age.
This is true for men and women.
Researchers tell us that the only factor worse than UV light exposure for aging and wrinkling your skin is cigarette smoking!
Cigarette smoking causes the skin to become yellowish and thick with deep wrinkles.
For some people there will also be white cysts and blackheads on the cheekbones from sun exposure and smoking.
UV light exposure also will also cause white and dark spots on the skin, as it damages the surface cells.
A fairly steep price for smoking.
Sami’s Take On What Your Parents Never Told You About Sun Dangers
Our years of living in a sunny part of the world has taken it’s toll on my families skin. We are living proof that being neglegant about taking care of our skin has consiquences.
This is why I knew I wanted to warn every one I could about the dangers. You can protect you and your family, and still enjoy the sun. Teach your family how to take care of themselves.
To know how to keep their skin safe from skin cancer will allow them so much more freedom to enjoy the good things about sunlight.
Sunscreen use and the bonus of sun blocking clothing can help you have a fun and safe relatinship with the sun.
Where are you in your romance with the sun? Are you still afraid? Have you began to improve your relationship with this blessing of our life? Sun smart is a good way to live.