Category Archives: Sun exposure


Everyone now knows how important it is to limit sun exposure, especially in children. Being exposed to the sun’s rays can lead to skin damage and skin cancer later in life. It’s very important, then, to use sunscreen and to cover up while in the sun, and to limit exposure when possible.

Even so, just about every child will get sunburned at some point, and experience pain, blisters, or worse. When that happens, what should you do?

According to this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):

“The signs of sunburn usually appear six to twelve hours after exposure, with the greatest discomfort during the first twenty- four hours. If your child’s burn is just red, warm, and painful, you can treat it yourself. Apply cool compresses to the burned areas or bathe the child in cool water. You also can give acetaminophen to help relieve the pain. (Check the package for appropriate dosage for her age and weight.)

“If the sunburn causes blisters, fever, chills, headache, or a general feeling of illness, call your pediatrician. Severe sunburn must be treated like any other serious burn, and if it’s very extensive, hospitalization sometimes is required. In addition, the blisters can become infected, requiring treatment with antibiotics. Sometimes extensive or severe sunburn also can lead to dehydration and, in some cases, fainting (heatstroke). Such cases need to be examined by your pediatrician or the nearest emergency facility.”

In our office we sometimes get requests for Silvadene (silver sulfadiazine) for sunburn or other burns, but we no longer use that topical medication. There are other products that are better, more effective, and easier to use at home.

Burns of any kind are no fun. Protect your child from the sun when possible. Use the AAP’s advice above when there’s a sunburn, and contact our office if necessary.

© 2016, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved


As the summer gets going into full swing with Independence Day weekend, days by the pool and in the backyard, and lots of sports, sun exposure is always a concern.

How do you keep your kids healthy, happy and sunburn-free while still giving them lots of time outdoors?  And when sunburn does occur, how should you treat it?

Prevention.  Check out our blog from last summer about sunscreens here.  Bottom line:  use sunscreen liberally and limit sun exposure.  You don’t have to get a sunburn to cause long-term skin damage.

Babies and toddlers.  See this detailed article from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).  Very young children are especially vulnerable to sunburn and heat stroke.  Under 6 months they should be kept out of direct sunlight and in the shade as much as possible.  Use the sun cover on the stroller.  Take a canopy to the older kids’ soccer games—it’s not only a good place to put the infant, but the rest of the family can get out of the sun, too.  Be aware that reflective surfaces, like sand or the concrete around pools, can still allow for sunburn even when you’re under an umbrella or other cover, no matter what your age.

In addition to limiting time outside in the hot part of the day, here are other considerations for the very young:

  • Dress them in lightweight, light colored clothing that covers arms, legs and the head.
  • Use sunscreen on any exposed skin.  There are several types that are appropriate for tender baby skin.  Don’t ever spray directly onto the face, but into your hand first.
  • Put a brimmed hat on babies and toddlers, or spray their scalps with sunscreen.  A fully-brimmed hat can protect scalp, ears, and partially protect face and neck.

Possible skin damage.  Don’t forget that everyone, even those with darker skin, are at risk of skin damage from the sun.  Exposure over time can lead to skin cancers later.

Treatment.  Sooner or later, most everyone will have a sunburn no matter how hard you try to prevent it.  What to do?  It depends on the severity.

  • Minor burns (red, warm to the touch) can be treated with cool compresses, acetaminophen and rest.
  • More serious burns can cause blisters, fever and chills, headache or other feelings of malaise, even infection.  If the burn is very serious, call your pediatrician.

So, by all means enjoy the summer sun, just be careful of getting too much exposure!

© 2014, MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

Tanning beds?

Checking the thermometer—or even looking out the window—in Central Kentucky this week, it’s hard to believe that spring break is just around the corner. Many people will be heading south for a little sun and warmth.  Others are just dreaming of summer days here, with days by the pool or sunbathing in the back yard.  And still others are imagining prom pictures and how they’ll look in that special dress or tux.

Whether preparing for a trip south, wanting to look your best or thinking ahead to summer, lots of people turn to tanning beds for a “base tan” in March and April.

In Kentucky’s current legislative session a physician has introduced a bill banning the use of tanning beds in the state by anyone under the age of 18.  It’s a bill we support, and here’s why:

  • Indoor tanning (tanning beds) is associated with an increased incidence of skin cancers, including melanoma (the most dangerous kind).
  • The use of indoor tanning has increased among teens, especially girls, in recent years.
  • Depending on the particular tanning bed used, you may receive up to 15 times the UVA rays that you would receive from exposure to midday summer sun.
  • Tanning has cumulative effects.  The more sunburns, and even tanning, your body receives over the years increases the odds you will develop skin cancers.  Tanning also causes premature skin aging and damages all the layers of the skin.

A tan does not make you more healthy; the facts support the opposite—tanning causes long-term damage.

So, don’t allow or encourage your teens to use tanning beds.  Read more from the American Academy of Pediatrics here.


© 2014 MBS Writing Services, all rights reserved

New blog and summer sun!

Welcome to Georgetown Pediatrics’ new blog!  Every couple of weeks you can check this space for information related to your child’s health needs.  We welcome your ideas for future posts.

Now that school is out, nearly everyone will be spending more time in the sunshine, which is a good thing (mostly).  Sunlight elevates mood and provides vitamin D.  But the sun’s rays also lead to burns now and to possible skin cancers down the road.  Here are some tips to keep your children and teens healthy and happy in the sunshine this summer.

  • Limit exposure.  Find a shady spot, use an umbrella, and cover up when possible.  This is especially important for infants, who should have a hat that shades the neck, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen.  These sunscreens are rated to protect against two types of rays that damage skin:  UVA (that cause wrinkles when one ages) and UVB (that cause burns).  Consumer Reports recently released an excellent study that ranked sunscreens, and found that two of the least expensive brands were most effective.  CBS News has the rundown here.  If you use a spray, don’t spray directly on the face, but on your (or your child’s) hands, then rub it onto the face.  Be sure to cover the back of the neck, the ears, and the tip of the nose.  Use products with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15, though some dermatologists recommend an SPF of 40 or above.  Reapply every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Use a lip balm that contains sunscreen.
  • Remember that water and sand are reflective and increase the exposure risk.

 Finally, have fun!  Summer only comes around once a year!

© 2013 MBS Writing Services