Sea, mountains, countryside or city: regardless of the destination for the next holidays, it is of fundamental importance to protect the skin of the little ones from the sun. In fact, in summer, with high temperatures and in all latitudes, the danger of sunburn is always around the corner. The sun is both a friend and an enemy for the skin and even more so for our children’s.
And while many dermatological diseases such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and vitiligo improve thanks to the sun’s beneficial immunomodulatory effect, in summer there are many skin diseases that can alarm parents and represent real pediatric dermatological emergencies. First of all the risks of sunburn.
“It is absolutely necessary – explains Gabriella Fabbrocini, director of the UOC of Clinical Dermatology at the University of Naples Federico II – to avoid the child exposed to the sun from being burned. The intense and careless exposure to the sun in childhood, with burns and erythema, is actually among the greatest risk factors for the development of skin cancer in adulthood”. Avoid exposing yourself during the hottest hours, from 12 to 16, always wear a hat and clothes if the exposure is too long, are some of the tips to avoid the risk of burns. Also use an SPF 50+ filter protection, with a cream formulation and not a spray, apply it 30 minutes before exposure and then every hour, and always after bathing or sweating.
BALLS OF INSECTS, BACTERIA AND ANIMALS: HOW TO PROTECT CHILDREN’S SKIN ON HOLIDAY – Not just the sun. Insects, bacteria and animals can, especially with their spread in summer, pose a potential risk to the skin of the little ones.
These include skin reactions after insect bites such as bees, wasps, bed bugs, fleas and ticks, which in some children can cause excessive skin reactivity by developing itchy erythematous papules, even at a distance from the sting site, causing multiple lesions localized to the trunk and limbs that configure the clinical picture of papular urticaria, characterized by intense itching that sometimes makes children restless and alarms parents.
“Very often this type of manifestation – Fabbrocini continues – requires treatment with topical and sometimes systemic antihistamines and corticosteroids. Hence the usefulness of putting repellent sprays in the travel bag to prevent any bites”. Also in summer, one of the main concerns of parents at the sea is the possible contact with jellyfish, which cause an irritating burn and the formation of urticarial papules and plaques. Jellyfish do not sting or bite, but in response to potential danger, its tentacles emit a stinging substance to the skin.
“In case of contact with a jellyfish – he explains – it is advisable to immediately wash the affected part abundantly with sea water, not with fresh water, to dilute the poison that has not yet penetrated, and apply anti-vertigo creams containing substances such as panthenol and hyaluronic acid and which are fundamental if they are used and reapplied during the following hours”. Sea urchins and some species of marine flora can also cause the appearance of itchy papules and, in the case of sea urchins, the formation of granulomas, which are sometimes difficult to deal with.
At the seaside, another common occurrence that can scare parents is impetigo, a pyoderma caused mainly by non-pathogenic bacteria such as streptococci and staphylococci, which are able to colonize the skin especially in humid heat conditions, especially in the presence of small wounds. These can cause vesicular lesions or small erosions covered with honey-colored crusts, typically in the area of the costume or on the face, near the nose and mouth.
“In more severe cases – concludes Fabbrocini – skin manifestations are associated with fever increases and extracutaneous localizations, such as pharyngeal and renal. Therefore, the need for an early diagnosis and rapid therapy by local disinfection of the skin and the use of antibiotic creams, in the most severe and resistant cases, with systemic antibiotic treatment. Special attention also to the eruptions that may occur after a stay on the rocks. In case these conditions occur, do not worry, just contact the dermatologist specialist who will be able to recognize them and treat them in the most appropriate way.
THE 10 RULES FOR CORRECT SUN EXPOSURE FOR CHILDREN: 1. Avoid exposing yourself during the hottest hours (from 12 to 4 p.m.); 2. Always wear a hat; 3. Use a photo protection with SPF 50+ filter; 4. Avoid using tanning oil. 5. Prefer photo protection with cream formulation over spray formulations; 6. Apply the photo protection 30 minutes before the photo exposure and every sunny time; 7. Reapply the photo protection after showering or sweating; 8. If the exposure is long, it is preferable to wear clothes; 9. Avoid trauma that can induce a Koebner effect 10. Apply a urea-based moisturizer as an after-sun cream ”.
MEDUSE, THE RULES IN CASE OF CONTACT WITH CHILDREN (AND NOT ONLY): 1. Get the child out of the water. 2. If you are offshore, support the child and call attention for help. 3. Check that no parts of the jellyfish are stuck to the skin and if necessary remove them carefully with your hands. 4. Avoid scratching or rubbing sand on the painful area. 5. Do not use ammonia, vinegar, alcohol or lemon juice: they will make the situation worse. 6. Finally, remember that the area of skin affected by jellyfish remains sensitive to sunlight and tends to darken quickly. 7. To prevent the skin from staining, it is good to avoid antihistamine ointments and keep the affected area covered or well protected by a sunscreen until the inflammation ration disappears (two weeks at most). 8. Application of anti-itch gels 9. A cortisone cream can be used, although it has a more delayed effect: it takes effect 20-30 minutes after application, i.e. when the reaction should have already exceeded its peak.
(Com / Rac / Dire)