How to help protect your kids now from future skin cancer

There has been a reported dramatic rise in skin cancer in young adults especially in people under 40.  The speculation is that indoor tanning bed use and childhood sunburns are key culprits.

A recent study found a dramatic rise of skin cancer in women in their 20s and 30s.  There was an increase not only among young women but young men.  Even though the mortality has decreased dramatically due to more awareness of the need to see a physician when skin changes are noted and caught before the cancer advances to the deeper tissues the incidence is higher.

Culprit #1: Indoor tanning bed use

There was a connection found between the use of indoor tanning beds and a 74% increase in the development of melanoma.  Educate your kids early on about the dangers of too much exposure to UV rays from both tanning beds as well as the sun.  Tanning beds just aren’t safe and some studies show they can have an addictive quality, posing the risk of not just harmful exposure, but excessive harmful exposure.

Culprit #2: Childhood sunburns

While skin cancer in children rarely occurs, studies are now indicating that infants who have had a sunburn can be as much as eight times more likely to experience skin cancer in adulthood.

Infants under six months of age are intolerant of the sun because their skin is very thin and fragile.  Children older than six months should be protected from the sun especially during the period between 10 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

If, despite your best efforts to educate your kids and prevent them from getting too much UV exposure, they do get severely sun burned:

  • Make sure the child receives adequate fluids to balance the dehydrating effects of the sun.
  • Consult a physician for recommendations of soothing lotions.
  • If your child develops blisters and a high fever, consult the doctor immediately

For more information about preventing skin cancer in your child, talk to your pediatrician or dermatologist.

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