Newsletter July-August 2014: Pediatrician’s Corner
Protecting Your Child from the Sun
July is Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month. As we go into the summer, it is important to remember that rates of skin cancer – including melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer – continue to rise, even in young people. Even though numerous public health campaigns encourage people to protect themselves from the risk of developing skin cancer, people of all ages continue to overexpose themselves to harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends lifelong sun protection starting at an early age. It is important for everyone to reduce UVR exposure, especially those
at high risk for developing skin cancer: children with light skin and eyes, who freckle or sunburn easily, or have a family history of melanoma.
The AAP recommends wearing proper clothing and hats, timing outdoor activities to minimize peak midday sun (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) when possible, applying sunscreen, and wearing sunglasses. Infants younger than 6 months old should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected with clothing and hats.
For more Sun Safety Information from the AAP, please click on the following links:
The Safety of Vaccinations
August is National Immunization Month. We know that babies need shots to be protected against diseases. However, shots are not just for babies. Parents, babysitters, older siblings and grandparents also need to be up-to-date against diseases like influenza and pertussis.
All parents are concerned about vaccine safety. Every year throughout the world, millions of babies are vaccinated to protect them against dangerous diseases. More than 500,000 babies are born each year in California. Vaccinations help keep them safe and healthy. Immunizations, like all medicines, must meet a high level of safety standards. Safety and research studies are continually in progress to ensure vaccines are safe and effective.
Here are some other important facts about the safety of vaccinations:
Side effects from vaccinations are usually minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or mild fever.
- Children are more likely to be harmed by avoiding vaccinations than by being vaccinated.
- Vaccines are just as safe and effective when given together as they are when given separately.
- Multiple vaccinations do NOT increase the risk of harmful side effects.
- Vaccines are safe and effective for most individuals with a mild illness. In most cases, it’s safe for a child with a mild illness such as a low fever or cold to get immunized.
If you have specific questions or concerns about vaccinating your child, talk to a respected health care provider. Your doctor or clinic can help you understand when shots are needed for your family and yourself. Immunizations are offered in a range of settings including county clinics, community health centers, some chain pharmacies, and private doctor’s offices. Vaccinations for children are usually free or low-cost.