Skin cancer risk: Protect children from dangerous UV radiation
More and more people in Germany are diagnosed with malignant black skin cancer. The main risk factor is ultraviolet radiation. Children and adolescents are particularly at risk. Doctors therefore always recommend protecting yourself from the sun from an early age. Health experts have some tips that parents should pay particular attention to.
Protect children from too much sun rays
Even though the temperatures have dropped somewhat in the past few days, it is summery enough on many days to enjoy your time outdoors. However, you should exercise caution and not underestimate the sun's rays, there is a risk of sunburn. This increases the risk of developing cancer. Every sunburn is added to your own skin account, dermatologists warn. Sufficient sun protection should be considered, especially for children.
Main risk factor for skin cancer
It has long been known that ultraviolet (UV) radiation is carcinogenic and is the main risk factor for skin cancer.
The International Cancer Research Agency (IARC) believes this has been proven since 2009 after reviewing comprehensive and clear study results.
Nevertheless, the number of new cases of skin cancer in Germany has continued to increase in recent years. Children and adolescents are particularly at risk.
The cancer information service of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) gives tips in a current communication on how parents can protect their children from the dangerous UV rays.
Consistent protection against strong UV exposure and sunburn
No matter whether on vacation, on the playground or in your own garden - in summer, children's life takes place outdoors. Consistent protection against strong UV exposure and sunburn is all the more important during this time.
Because children's skin is much thinner than the skin of adults, the experts explain. Even the pigments that form the body's own protection against UV rays are not yet fully produced in childhood.
With every child's sunburn, the likelihood of developing skin cancer in adulthood increases.
According to the Cancer Information Service, around 21,200 people in Germany contracted malignant black skin cancer in 2014. Skin cancer screening detects many tumors at an early stage.
"Nevertheless, we should protect ourselves and, above all, our children from the dangerous rays of the sun, so that there is no illness later," said Dr. Susanne Weg-Remers, head of the cancer information service of the German Cancer Research Center.
Practical tips for parents
As the DKFZ writes, infants and toddlers should not be exposed to the direct sun until they are about two years old.
If the sun cannot be avoided, head protection and UV-proof textiles are a must. A sunscreen can also be added, especially for light-skinned toddlers. A parasol on the stroller should also be considered.
Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the UV radiation is at its highest, children should not go out into the sun at all in summer. In principle, the blazing sun should be avoided and the shade should be sought frequently.
Don't forget: Always drink enough! The experts also recommend that children are always provided with clothing, headgear and sunglasses to protect them from UV rays. The glasses must be labeled with UV-400 or 100% UV protection.
Use of sun protection with a sun protection factor of at least 30 - especially the nose, forehead, ears, hands, shoulders, knees and back of the feet should be treated. Light-skinned children need a sun protection factor of 50 in midsummer and in southern countries.
The basic rule is not to save money when applying cream. Cream should be applied at least every two hours.
Reapply sunscreen after swimming, even if it's a waterproof product. This also applies to sweating and drying out.
In the car, UV films, window blinds or sunshades can be attached to the rear side windows, because, unlike the front window, these may allow UV-A radiation to pass through.
Important: Remember sun protection even on cloudy summer days: up to 90 percent of the dangerous rays penetrate through the cloud cover.
The experts also warn that children and adolescents up to the age of 18 should never be in a solarium - this is prohibited by law in Germany.
In conclusion, the Cancer Information Service recommends that parents set a good example for their children. Both for your own protection and to get the children used to the low-risk behavior in the sun as consistently and from an early age. In this way, sun protection can become a positive automatism in the long term. (ad)