Sunburn is better prevented than treated. Besides being painful, sunburn ages the skin and puts people at greater risk for skin cancer. The sun's rays are at their peak between 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., so avoid being in the sun during those hours. Wearing protective clothing and using sunscreen offer the best protection against sunburn for those who must be in the sun. Do not rely on either of these things to protect against skin cancer.
Sunscreen is an effective way to prevent sunburn. The sun protection factor (SPF) number on a sunscreen product will tell the user how effective the product is against the effects of the sun. A rating of SPF 2 is minimal protection, while an SPF rating of 30 or more is maximum protection and will not even allow tanning. Most physicians recommend a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 for adults and children. Sunscreen should be reapplied after extended time in the sun, excessive sweating, or swimming.
School-age children should always wear sunscreen when they will be outside. This includes before going to school on days where children will be outside during recess or lunch breaks. In general, schools will not put sunscreen on your child before recess times. Be vigilant about your child's sun exposure. Insist that he or she wear a hat, sunscreen and other protective clothing.
It is advised that sunscreen not be used on very young children. To prevent sunburn on very young children, keep them out of the sun and dress them in protective clothing.
Take 1,000 IU/day of vitamin E and 2,000 mg/day of vitamin C as supplements for protection if you cannot avoid being in the sun.
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