Harmful effects of early sun exposure in kids include damage to the eyes, heat exhaustion, heat stroke, sunburn, heat rashes and sometimes skin cancer.
Sun is the ultimate source of life and well-being to man. Not only does it support the flora and the fauna but the entire existence of the world depends on the Sun. It provides the body with vitamin D that indirectly assists in the absorption of all other minerals and vitamins in the body. Moderate Sun exposure cures mild depression, stress, promotes good mood as well as improves sleep. Yet it is a lesser known fact how the same Sun exposure at an extremely early age will negatively harm the body and lead to possible malfunctioning in the future.
Sun Exposure: 6 Ways the Sun Affects in Kids
Childhood is a highly tender stage in the life of a human. The overall growth of the body and the immune system are at their weakest point and need extra care for healthy development. An infection or disease at such an age may open up windows for the same to be carried forward to the next stage. Parents often face the dilemma in regards to the amount of rays their children should be exposed to. The threat of overexposure or any allergic reaction always lurks in the child’s health. It is necessary to note that an early Sun exposure will not only cause harmful effects but may also weaken the child’s body forever.
There are many such side effects which physicians rarely mention yet have a great impact on individual’s life. Nowadays, due to the increase in global warming and the ozone layer hole, the rays of the Sun are not distilled of the harmful UV rays. The increase in environmental pollution and the presence of multiple harmful substances in the atmosphere react with the rays of the Sun leading to disastrous chemical reactions which are extremely dangerous for the sensitive skin of infants.
What are the harmful effects of the Sun on young children?
Some of the most harmful effects of the Sun on young children are;
Damage to the eyes
Early and direct exposure to the son at an early age increases the risk of damage to the eye. Long-term ultraviolet exposure can destroy the developing retina of the child. This will distort child’s ability to form correct visual images in the future as well. These rays often leave a permanent and long-lasting effect on the health of the child. Therefore, doctors often suggest the parents to cover the eyes of their kids before going out to avoid exposure to the strongest rays of the Sun during noon.
It is a known fact that even elders suffer from severe heat exhaustion. So, the intensity of the same condition is even worse in children. They become irritated and may suffer headache, nausea, dizziness and loss of appetite at time stunting appropriate growth.
If heat exhaustion in young children is left untreated or occurs repeatedly, it increases the chances of heat stroke. Heat stroke is often considered a life-threatening illness, especially in young children as their body fails to cope up with the decrease in the essential vital minerals of the body. In children, heat strokes can be detected if the child is sweating profusely or in case they suffer from seizures just after returning from sun exposure. Such situations need immediate assistance and medical attention since heat strokes have the potential to cause permanent mental disability or untimely death.
The skin of young kids is much more tender and susceptible to damage than that of adults. The exposure of Sun can cause severe sunburns of high degree. Sunburn is a result of the radiation exposure to the UV rays that kill the living tissues under the skin. The intensity of sunburn is generally much more severe in young children that may also lead to open sores on the skin. They cause extreme pain to the children making precautions a necessary step.
Heat rash is another common type of infection that is a result of over sweating caused due to elongated sun exposure. It is important to know that the sweat ducts in children have a more active regulatory mechanism to maintain the body temperature. This leads to itching of the skin and ultimately starts the formation of rashes on the child. It is the job of the parents to change the dirty clothes of their child as soon as they reach home to avoid skin rashes and infections.
Exposure to the harmful UV rays from a very young age leads to the possibility of skin cancer. The sun damaged skin takes years to heal and redevelops making the area prone to multiple infections and diseases. Skin cancer cases are now witnessing a great rise in number. The cases registered are directly related to elongated sun exposure from an early age. Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are types of skin cancer both a result of overexposure to the Sun.
What precautions must be taken to ensure safe Sun exposure?
As parents, we often encourage our young teenage children to stop being couch potatoes and take part in outdoor activities for physical health and entertainment. Yet it should be kept in mind that proper precautions must be taken by parents before sending their children out to play or taking their infants for a walk.
- The easy availability of a variety of natural and organic Sunscreen is a good option for all parents to prevent any kind of damage to their children. The beach and picnic days on which the children are under prolonged exposure to the Sun. Parents must ensure that children have been rubbed with good quality Sunscreen.
- Umbrellas while going on a walk with children is also a good alternative for parents who wish to avoid creams.
- Sunglasses for grown-up children will protect their eyes from the harmful UV rays of the Sun.
- Parents must check that the sweaty clothes of the children must not be left unattended as they may cause a skin rash.
Thus it is important for all age groups especially infants maintain a regulated amount of exposure to the sun despite its claimed benefits.