Spring break can boost kids' risk of future skin cancer if these tips ignored

News Archive April 01, 2014

Spring break can boost kids' risk of future skin cancer if these tips ignored

Loyola pediatric dermatologists offer advice to protect your child's skin in warmer weather

MAYWOOD, Ill. (April 1, 2014) – As families prepare to escape the winter weather for somewhere warmer this spring break, they should exercise caution when exposing their skin to the sun after a long winter indoors. Loyola University Health System (LUHS) pediatric dermatologists warn that kids are especially at risk.

“Protecting your child’s skin from the sun after they have been bundled up all winter is critical to prevent long-term sun damage and premature aging,” said Lily Uihlein, MD, pediatric dermatologist, LUHS.

Loyola dermatologists warn that those traveling to tropical climates are at an even greater risk for sun damage.

“The sun tends to be more intense in areas closer to the equator, giving you more exposure to harmful UV rays,” said Wendy Schumacher-Kim, DO, pediatric dermatologist, LUHS. “Children also have delicate skin, placing them in even greater danger in warmer climates."

Having one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life, yet less than one-third of all young people take the proper steps to protect their skin from excessive sun exposure, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Drs. Schumacher-Kim and Uihlein report that teaching children important skin health habits now can ensure that these protective measures become routine as they grow older.

They offer the following tips to protect your family’s skin this spring break:

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it liberally at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Repeat application of sunscreen at least every 2-3 hours.
  • Wear protective clothing outdoors, including a wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, pants, rash guards and sunglasses with UV protection.
  • Stay out of the midday sun (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
  • Use a higher SPF when at higher elevations.
  • Avoid sunbathing and tanning salons before your trip. UV rays from artificial sources, such as tanning beds and sunlamps, are just as dangerous as those from the sun.
  • Set a good example for your children by always using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.

Loyola pediatric dermatologists now offer same-day or next-day appointments at the Loyola Center for Health at La Grange Park, located at 321 N. La Grange Road in La Grange Park, and at the Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge, located at 6800 N. Frontage Road in Burr Ridge. Parents can call or text (708) 897-5608 to reach a pediatric dermatology triage nurse who will schedule the appointment.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.
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