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Being safe in the summer sun!

Image credit: Rachel Gonzalez, Flickr Creative Commons
Image credit: Rachel Gonzalez, Flickr Creative Commons

It’s the time of year when most people shed their winter layers and frolic outside to the lake, the pool, hiking, bike riding, or their kids soccer or baseball games. Here are some important things to know about being safe in the sun when you’re having fun!

  • Sunscreen is a must! Kids get the majority of their sun exposure/damage before the age of 18! Choosing a sunscreen is not an easy task, and with growing awareness of the dangers of some products we use on our bodies, it gets even more complicated. Oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate have gotten bad press lately, and it’s not clear if they are completely safe. There has not been any substantial evidence to prove they are not, but since there are available sunscreens that do not contain these ingredients, it may be better to choose  those alternatives when possible.
  • Make sure you apply sunscreen that is Broad spectrum, and at least SPF 15. You don’t need to waste your money on SPF 100, anything over SPF 50 has marginally better protection. Apply 30 minutes before activity outside, and reapply every 2 hours, or if you or your child are swimming or sweating.
  • When you can, avoid being in the direct sun between 10 am-4 pm as this is when the sun rays are strongest and most damaging. If you are out in the sun, try to keep yourself and your kiddos in the shade as much as possible- but be aware- the sun radiating off of a body of water increases the amount of damage it can do (same with snow in the winter)
  • Wear long sleeves and hats to help protect yourself and your children whenever possible, and don’t be deceived by overcast days, there are still a lot of damaging sun rays peeking through those clouds!
  • Don’t forget those peepers! Look for sunglasses for yourself and your kids that offer UV protection
  • Stay hydrated! Once your or your child are feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Encourage them to drink fluids throughout the day (electrolytes are important too), and watch for a decrease in the amount they are going to the bathroom.
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About Amanda Magrini

Amanda Magrini
Amanda Magrini, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Nevada Medical Group’s Los Altos location in Sparks. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and her medical training at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Dr. Magrini has practiced family medicine for seven years, including residency, and enjoys her specialty, because she likes taking care of the whole family, from newborns to grandparents. She likes preventative medicine, helping people take care of themselves and the relationships she is able to form with her patients. Dr. Magrini grew up in Sparks, NV and likes that it is a safe place to live with great educational opportunities and beautiful scenery. She thinks Northern Nevada is a great place to raise a family and looks forward to raising her own children here. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, boating, running and traveling the world. Dr. Magrini is also very close with her family; she is married to her high school sweetheart and values spending time with him and the rest of her family. Disclosure: "The author is a licensed physician practicing with Northern Nevada Medical Group, but all opinions expressed are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Northern Nevada Medical Group or any other affiliates of Universal Health Services, Inc."

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