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Today in Health & Wellness

Burn, Baby, Burn?

"Babies, sun exposure, and SPF"
By: Dona P. CoradoBurn, Baby, Burn?

Sunburn in babies “can range from a first degree to a third degree burn. The sun is very powerful; it can really scald your skin. Sunburn can also remove and expose the sensitive part of the skin,” aesthetic and wellness expert Dr. Rhoda Espino says, stressing that sunburn is not only uncomfortable but also painful and dangerous to the baby. Very bad sunburns can cause fever, dehydration, and nausea. Also, studies show that every time a baby gets sunburn, his risk of getting skin cancer when he becomes an adult increases.

In treating a baby with sunburn, the initial goal must be to get him out of direct or indirect sun light. Gently apply cool compress as this can help his body cool down. Do not pop the blisters. Continuous breastfeeding is also essential to keep your baby hydrated.

Never give any medicine, oral or topical, without consulting your baby’s doctor first. If you think it works for you, keep in mind that your baby’s skin is different from yours.

Remember that the sun's ultraviolet rays are almost as strong on a cloudy day as on a sunny one. It’s good for adults, but considering their sensitive skin, is sun block also safe for babies?

“Yes, it is,” affirms Dr. Espino. “I advise patients to apply SPF 30 whenever they are going out, [though the minimum is SPF 15]. SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a rating scale for the protection ability of sunscreens. SPF 30 gives you 30 minutes protection from the sun. You can reapply if the sunscreen has dried off or has been washed off while swimming, for example. [But you also need to be careful when applying sunscreen to babies], higher SPF also indicates increased risk of sensitivity to allergy.”

Sunscreens made especially for babies and younger children are now available in the market. They are water-resistant and effective against both ultraviolet A (the skin-aging and tanning ray) and the more intense ultraviolet-B (the sunburn- and cancer-causing ray). It is advised that sun block be applied 20 minutes prior to going outside. Parents must also be careful not to put lotion around baby’s eyes and on the hands because it may end up in his mouth. Test a small patch of sunscreen at home to be sure the baby doesn't have an allergic reaction to the lotion.
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