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News Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pediatrician Manu S. Raam, M.D., shares a few need-to-know summer tips

Manu S. Raam, M.D., is a pediatrician at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Los Angeles and is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. He received an undergraduate degree summa cum laude in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a medical degree with special qualifications in biomedical research from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. During medical school, Dr. Raam was an HHMI-NIH Research Scholar and performed medical genetics research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Raam's areas of interest include osteogenesis imperfecta, spina bifida, craniosynostosis, holoprosencephaly, VACTERL association, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and general preventive pediatrics.

Here, Dr. Raam share a few summer safety tips for parents:

What are the most common injuries you see during the summer, and how can parents keep their children safe from these injuries?

The common injuries that occur during the summer are often playground injuries. Proper supervision is needed and playgrounds should be inspected for hazardous glass or trash. Often these children are injured by rusting equipment, exposed hardware and even hot metal surfaces. During the summer, care must also be taken to prevent accidental burns related to fireworks and campfires. The July 4 weekend is the most deadly holiday weekend and emergency rooms often prepare for an increase in visits during that time. Children should not play with fireworks and even sparklers, which can seem benign, but can reach temperatures as high as 1,000° F near the tip.

During the summer, temperatures can reach a high of 90° F. is there a type of sunblock you recommend to patients?   

Terminology regarding sunscreen can be confusing and unclear. The Food and Drug Administration has created certain rules to prevent false labeling and advertising. It is important to look for “broad-spectrum” protection, which can only be used on a label when both UVA and UVB protection is present; protecting against both wavelengths helps reduce risks of skin cancer, early skin aging and sunburn.

Which SPF is best?

SPF > 15 is definitely more protective than SPF < 15, as an SPF of 15 screens 93 percent of UVB rays. SPF 30 confers a slightly higher benefit at 97 percent, but it is not clear whether there is enhanced sun protection as SPF approaches higher levels. There is no evidence that SPF > 50 provides additional protection.

If a child is sunburned, how long do you recommended to wait before exposing skin to the sun?

Sunburned skin has lost a significant portion of its barrier protection and further exposure to UV radiation can only be more harmful. At a minimum, it is vital to avoid sun exposure until the skin has fully completed its process of peeling and regeneration, and is back to normal. This process can take several weeks. More severe burn patients are even sometimes advised to avoid sun exposure for months or years to avoid pigmentation issues.