Summer is here and it’s important to remember to protect yourself and children from the sun and insect bites.
“Skin is the human body’s largest organ. It is especially important to always use sunscreen during the summertime when people are spending more time outdoors,” Rush County Health Board Chairperson Tai Morrell said. “Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Remember to be safe while having fun in the sun.”
Sun safety tips
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage skin in as little as 15 minutes. It’s important to reduce exposer to the sun by finding shade, wearing proper clothing and applying sunscreen.
Wearing long sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts offers the broadest protection from the sun. People should wear a hat and sunglasses in addition to clothing that covers the skin when spending time in the sun.
Morrell advises people to apply broad spectrum sunscreens SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen should always be applied in thick layers to all exposed skin before going outside, even on slightly cloudy or cool days.
Sunscreen can wear and wash off. Reapply sunscreen after being in the sun for two hours and after swimming, sweating or drying off.
Tips to prevent insect bites
The CDC advises to only use insect repellents registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The following repellents are proven safe and effective for pregnant and breastfeeding women when used as directed.
• Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US)
• Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE)
• Para-menthane-diol (PMD)
The CDC also provides tips for babies and children.
• Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.
• Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
• Instead, dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs.
• Cover strollers and baby carriers with mosquito netting.
• Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.
• Do not apply insect repellent to a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, cuts, or irritated skin.
• Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
The CDC advises not to apply repellent on skin under clothing. If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and insect repellent second.