Welcome to Stay in the Game, a monthly blog where the team from the Queen's Center for Sports Medicine shares the latest tips on the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. We want to help you play hard and be well - a winning combination that will keep you in the game all season long.

Sun safety for the whole family

As the summer months approach, it is a good idea to think about how to be safe outdoors by protecting yourselves from the sun. "If there is one message to get out there, it is the importance of prevention rather than treatment and reaction to conditions like sunburn or heat illness. There is so much we can do to be sun safe," says Dr. Rachel Coel, Medical Director and staff physician at the Queen's Center for Sports Medicine.

Sun safety for an active family

Most of the harmful lifetime sun exposure occurs within the first 20 years of life, so it is crucially important to care for your children's skin throughout their youth. Whether your child is on the field, or you and your family are in the stands to cheer on your favorite team, follow these sun safety tips:

• Always wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more.
• Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before any outdoor activity.
• Reapply sunscreen often! Within 30 minutes to an hour, sunscreen can wear off especially by sweating due to activity – the shoulders, nose and cheeks tend to rub off the fastest, and parents often forget areas like the feet, ears and backs of the hands.
• Use your fingertips to get sunscreen into the hair and edges of the hairline. In Hawaii, many skin cancers tend to occur along the hairlines and in athletes, this is typically because the hair gets brushed or pulled back and the skin around the hairline is more exposed.
• Wear shirts with sleeves or short sleeves instead of tank tops or try sun-protective clothing, such as Dri-FIT or cotton fabrics.
• Don't forget your sunglasses.
• If possible, avoid being in the sun between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, when the sun's rays are the strongest
• Remember: UV rays are still harmful even on a rainy or cloudy day

Caring for sunburns

In cases of first degree burns, there is not much you can do. There are remedies that are not advised, like rubbing butter, oil or petroleum jelly over the affected areas—these prevent the skin from breathing and healing. You can simply use aloe, which many local families have in their yard, or a soothing lotion or gel containing aloe as an ingredient. Anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen can control pain and discomfort, as well as a cool bath. Kids should also drink more water than normal when they get a sunburn, as they actually lose more water as a result of sunburned skin.

Remember that every child is different in terms of heat and sun. However, as we enter the summer season as well as some of the hottest times of year, safety should always come first.

The Queen's Center for Sports Medicine provides comprehensive care for the treatment and prevention of sports injuries and conditions for patients of all ages. To make an appointment, call 808-691-4449 or click the button below.

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