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Fun In The Sun

Sunburn hurts!  It only takes a few minutes of UV exposure to incur skin changes.  The American Academy of Dermatologists recommends the use of a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above.  Sunscreen is safe for infants 6 months and older.  For younger babies, use protective hats and clothing or keeps babies protected in a covered stroller.  Be sure to reapply sunscreen as directed on the product's label, especially if your children are perspiring or in the water.  Most products need to be reapplied every 2 hrs.

Use a sunscreen that contains only inorganic filters, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to avoid irritating eyes and skin.

For sunburn care, aloe based lotions and creams are widely available.  Some products contain a numbing agent to help minimize discomfort.  Never pop blistered burns.  Second degree burns may be treated with zinc oxide based creams (most diaper barrier creams and Silvadene) once blisters are ruptured to promote healing.

The best "treatment" for sunburn is avoidance.  It has been well documented serious sunburns raise the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.


If you've lived in South Texas long enough, you know mosquitos are an unwelcome guest most of the summer.  Infants and young children commonly have stronger reactions after being bitten.  Scratching bites can often lead to skin infections, which are more of a concern these days with the high prevalance of MRSA, which can cause impetigo and skin abscesses.  

Treat large welts or hives with topical anti-itch remedies such as hydrocortisone 1%.  For more severe symptoms such as swelling around the eyes or ears, oral benadryl may be given (see dosing).  If scratching has resulted in open sores, apply neosporin to help prevent infection.  Call if any bite becomes deeply set or begins to cause pain.

DEET based repellents can be used on infants as young as 2 months of age.  Unlike sunscreen, DEET should not be reapplied regularly during one outing.  Do not use products that combine sunscreen and repellent.  Avoid the face when applying, and never use repellent underneath clothing.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using products with a DEET concentration of 30% or less.  For infants and children with sensitive skin, products containing picaridin (or icaridin) are good alternatives.  

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