Skin cancer could evolve at any age and is highly dependent on external factors. Taking into account all recent scientific data, environment and climate change, skin cancer prevention measures must be a part of everyday life in your family. They are as important as doing sports and healthy eating.
Skin cancer prevention should be started within the first day after birth. When your child is small, it is mainly your area of responsibility. When a kid gets older, it is important to teach him or her the basics of skin protection and to convince that following those rules is vital.
Children under 6 months of age should avoid sun exposure. It is not recommended to use sunscreens for them.
Older kids should avoid the midday sun and wear sun-protective clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses blocking both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be used when a kid is going to spend more than 20 minutes outdoors at the time when UV index is higher than 4. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours of outdoors activities, as well as before and after swimming.
You can check the approximate UV rates in your area of living at http://sunburnmap.com/. This website is also good at providing adequate advice on necessary sun protection measures at the exact day.
Allowing your kid to spend the whole day at the beach is not a good thing. Regarding the question of getting enough vitamin D, it could be safely delivered with specific foods. If your kid has a clinically diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, you can utilize vitamin D supplements, but strictly in dosage prescribed by pediatrician or dermatologist or take other measures recommended by the doctor specifically to your child. Please remember that vitamins are not just a harmless food supplement.
You should do regular at-home skin checks for smaller kids and convince your teenagers to pay regular attention to their moles. This is vital, because skin cancer is highly curable when detected and treated early. Here is a good guide for at-home skin checks provided by Skin Cancer Foundation.
Follow the combination of “ABCDE rule” and “Ugly Duckling Sign” when evaluating your moles. Please note that a mole could grow to a certain extent as a child grows, and sometimes new moles may appear and they are not necessarily malignant.
A mole certainly must be shown to the dermatologist as quickly as possible if it contains different colors, changes its size rapidly, hurts, bleeds, is dome-shaped or has a jagged border. Also you should work closely with a dermatologist if your child has more than 50 moles or large birthmarks.
You should periodically take your kid to a dermatologist for general examination. It’s best to ask your dermatologist about optimal frequency in your particular case.
A personal example is the best convincing tool when it comes to anything you want your kids to follow. Check UV rates, use sunscreen, do self-checks and talk to your child about the importance of sun protection. It will pay off later in long, happy and healthy living for your family.
If you’re looking for a skilled dermatologist for your child, we welcome you to visit our comfortable office. Pediatric dermatology is one of our key areas of specialization. Our place is kids-friendly and cozy, so your child won’t be overstressed by the visit and will get the best medical help possible.
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