Dear Doctor: Sunny with a Chance of Sunscreen

Dear Doctor:

What are some good sun protective measures to take for ourselves?

Dear Reader:

1. Avoid being in the sun when there is maximal UV radiation, i.e. 10 am to 4 pm. If your shadow is shorter than you, you shouldn’t be in the sun!

2. Wear a broad brimmed hat with a 3 inch brim to cover your head, ears and back of neck.

3. Use sunglasses with 99 % UV protection.

4. Choose broad spectrum sunscreen with at least 15-30 SPF. Light skinned people should use at least SPF 30 for outdoor activities.

5. Apply sunscreen LIBERALLY to ALL exposed areas 15-30 minutes BEFORE sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours.

6. Water resistant products will work for 40-80 minutes. REAPPLY after you have been in the water, for 40 – 80 minutes.

7. Use even on cloudy days because UV rays can get through the clouds causing skin damage and sunburn.

8. Wear clothes labeled with a UPF (UV protection factor). UPF describes how well a garment blocks out UV radiation. 15-24 is good, 25-39 is very good, above 40 is excellent. Tighter weave and less stretchy fabric are more protective.

9. Sunscreens are safe other than an occasional allergic reaction to the product. Sunblock may reduce the body’s ability to synthesize Vitamin D.

10. Babies under 6 months are not recommended to be in direct sun or to use sunscreen.

Supriya Ramanathan, MD, FAAP is a pediatrician and provides patient care at UT Physicians Primary Care at Dashwood. For more information or to schedule an appointment at UT Physicians Pediatric Center – Cinco Ranch, please call 713-486-5870.

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