Staying Safe in the Sun

July 3rd is known as stay out of the sun day. That is a hard rule to commit too and especially for children so let’s try to stay as safe as we can. Kidshealth.org has some great advice. The weather is warming up, the days are longer and there’s more time to be outside doing all kinds of fun things! But if you’re going to be out in the sun, especially on a hot day, you need to stay safe. Let’s find out how. Don’t Feel the Burn. Even though the sun is hot, it does cool things. It keeps us warm. It makes flowers and plants grow. It even gives us vitamin D so we can better absorb calcium into our bodies for strong bones. It does all these things by sending down light, which includes invisible ultraviolet (say: ul-trah-VYE-uh-lit) rays. These are also called UV rays. Some ultraviolet rays pass through air and clouds and penetrate the skin. When your skin’s been exposed to too many of these rays, you get what’s known as a sunburn. Ouch! Some people get a sunburn faster than others because of their coloring. If you have blond or red hair, light-colored skin, and light-colored eyes, you’ll tend to get a sunburn more quickly than someone with dark eyes and skin. That’s because you have less melanin (say: MEL-uh-nun). Melanin is a chemical in the skin that protects it from sun damage by reflecting and absorbing UV rays. People with darker skin have more melanin, but even if you have dark hair, dark eyes, or darker-toned skin, you can still get a sunburn. It will just take a little bit longer. Sunburns look bad and feel worse. They can cause blisters on your skin. They can keep you inside feeling sore when everyone else is outside having fun. They increase your chance of getting wrinkly when you get older. And worst of all, they can lead to skin cancer when you are an adult. Because getting wrinkles and getting sick don’t happen right away, they can seem like things that could never happen to you. But you still need to be careful.