Summer’s Here: Time for a Quick Review of Important Sun Protection Facts

Some of you already know about Kids Travel Doc, the free and wonderfully written newsletter that Karl Neumann, MD writes from Long Island, NY. Karl is a recognized pediatric travel expert, a longtime ISTM leader, and a great friend of nurses. His newsletter should be recommended to every parent concerned about children and travel…

See his recent post, “Summer Vacations/Protecting Kids in the Sun” for valuable reminders- for all ages- about how to stay safe in the sun.

And here are a few additional reminders for travel health nurses:

  • The FDA now uses the term sunscreen, not sunblock, because nothing actually blocks the sun except staying inside. (And not all sunscreens live up to their marketing claims…)
  • Also, sunscreen expires -but the container may not have an expiration date- so it is important to note the day of purchase and throw out old sunscreen after one to two years. (I personally paid the price for outdated sunscreen on a trip the Florida Keys a few years back-not a pretty picture!)
  • By contrast, DEET products do not have an expiration date…
  • Critical teaching point about sunscreen and repellent for all our travelers: after dressing, sunscreen goes on first in areas not covered by clothing. Sunscreen works by absorption; about 20-30 minutes later apply repellent to those same areas. Repellents work by evaporation. Reapply according to the directions on both labels. See CDC guidance in the Yellow Book
  • Many drugs can enhance sun sensitivity- Doxy and Cipro both come readily to mind. Check your travelers’ meds for this added sun risk.

Happy, healthy summer everyone!