Summer is officially here, children are out of school, and summertime outdoor fun is beginning. Unfortunately, potential dangers are beginning as well because the sun’s radiation as well as biting insects can cause acute and long-term problems in children. The application of sunscreen and insect-repellent products can minimize or prevent these associated medical problems, such as sunburn and increased risk for skin cancer, or transmission of vector-borne diseases.
Skin cancer remains the most common type of cancer in the United States, and its major cause is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (sunlight). Squamous cell and basal carcinoma are the most prevalent skin cancers. Although melanoma represents far fewer skin cancers, it has a significantly higher morbidity (80% of all skin cancer deaths). The use of sunscreens and other behavioral modifications can significantly reduce a child or adolescent’s risk for sunburn and long-term risk for developing skin cancer. However, having children, parents, and adolescents institute these behaviors can be challenging.
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