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As the skin cancer rate continues to rise, many of us can’t help but wonder why people continue to expose themselves to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. A tan, whether it’s acquired from the pool, in a salon or through incidental exposure, is always dangerous.
The use of tanning beds today is an especially common practice among teenagers, specifically the female population. What many young girls don’t realize, however, is that the bronzed image they so desire is only the skin’s visible reaction to damage from harmful UV rays. Melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, is now the second most common cancer seen in young adults. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly 28 million people tan indoors in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. Their findings go on to report that 70 percent of tanning salon users are Caucasian girls and women, primarily aged 16 to 29 years.
Skin cancer aside, basking in UV rays—indoor or outdoors—also leads to premature aging of the skin. That means that even just a few minutes of exposure each day over the years without protection can cause noticeable changes to the skin later in life. Freckles, age spots, leathery skin, wrinkles, saggy skin and uneven skin tone can all be traced to UV exposure.
The good news is that skin cancer and premature aging of the skin can easily be prevented. For one, stay away from tanning beds. Pediatricians also recommend that children and teens wear proper clothing, hats and sunglasses when outdoors. Always use sunscreen and avoid exposure during peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There is no such thing as a safe tan. Talk to your teen about the serious, life-threatening consequences of tanning. If your teen insists on a sun-kissed glow, suggest safer sunless methods, such as spray tans and other sunless gels or creams.
Your child is sneezing, coughing and congested. Is it the common cold? Or is it seasonal allergies? And what is the best way to give them relief from these symptoms?
Allergies and colds often have overlapping symptoms, including a stuffy or runny nose, cough and low energy. It can be difficult for parents to know whether their child is battling a stubborn virus or having an allergic reaction.
Kids with a cold may feel achy and develop a sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose and low-grade fever. A cold usually doesn’t last longer than a few days before it starts to improve. Since common colds are viral infections, they can’t be cured with antibiotics. To ease your child’s symptoms or discomfort, make sure your child is getting plenty of fluids and rest.
If your child’s stuffy nose lingers for several days, this may be an indication that they are suffering from allergies and not a cold. In fact, allergy symptoms can last for weeks to months.
Telltale signs that your child has allergies and not a cold include:
- Cold-like symptoms linger for more than a few weeks
- Chronic (continual) cough
- Mucous is clear
- Persistent stuffy nose
- Itching of the nose, ears, mouth and/or throat
- Itchy, watery, red eyes
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Wheezing, difficulty breathing and other respiratory symptoms
- Unexplained bouts of diarrhea, abdominal cramps and other intestinal symptoms
In some cases, reducing the triggers that are causing the allergic reaction can control many allergy symptoms. This may include washing your child’s bedding and toys to remove dust and bacteria, bathing pets regularly, vacuuming your home at least once a week and replacing furnace and air filters every few months.
Although common colds and allergies have similar symptoms, there are distinct clues that help parents differentiate one from the other. When in doubt about your child’s symptoms, always contact your Edison pediatrician.