|Medical Services||Locations||Patient/Visitor Info||Programs & Support||Points of Pride|
A message from The Center for Physical Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine:
As the rain clouds slowly move out and the sun starts to show itself again, there are some things to be aware of as we spend more time outside under the sun...
The sun is important as it is our primary source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium which is essential for strong and healthy bones. Too much sun exposure; however, can cause skin and eye damage, suppress our immune system, and result in skin cancer.
Sunlight comes in three ultraviolet rays: UVA, UVB, UVC. UVA passes through the ozone layer so a majority of our exposure is to UVA rays. Many UVB rays are absorbed by the ozone layer but we are still exposed to some UVB rays. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer. UVC rays are the most dangerous but are blocked by the ozone layer.
It is estimated that most kids are exposed to 50% - 80% of their lifetime sun exposure before the age of 18. High-risk people include those that have moles on their skin, have fair skin and hair, or have a family history of skin cancer. Darker-toned people too can suffer skin damage. Therefore, it is important to start educating and protecting kids when they are young:
Intense activities of at least 15 minutes should be reduced in high heat and high humidity conditions. Allow for acclimatization to the heat. Ensure adequate hydration with either water or sports drinks both BEFORE and DURING (5 oz for a child under 90 pounds and 9 oz for an adolescent weighing 130 pounds every 20 minutes); even if the child does not feel thirsty. Clothing should be light-colored and lightweight; one layer only to facilitate evaporation of sweat.
Two serious heat-related injuries include heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Commons symptoms of heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, nausea and/or vomiting, fainting. Treating heat exhaustion centers around cooling the person: move to a cool/shady area, push cool, non-alcoholic beverages, remove excess clothing, and, if available, apply ice to the neck, armpit, and groin areas to help decrease core body temperature.
If left untreated, heat exhaustion can result in heat stroke, which is a true medical emergency and can prove fatal if not treated promptly and properly. Key differences between heat stroke and heat exhaustion are that heat stroke signs include: the absence of sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin, difficulty breathing and strange behavior: agitation, confusion, hallucinations, and/or disorientation. Follow the steps above to cool the person and call 911 immediately.
By following the above steps, we hope that you and your family can have a safe and enjoyable season in the sun.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009: AAP Summer Safety Tip Sheet
KidsHealth.org. Sun Safety
Last Updated: 4/14/2011