By Haley Squiers
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – With temperatures reaching new highs each day, many East Texans look to a pool to cool off from the summer heat. However, the increased amount of time spent outside could lead to sun burns and lasting sun damage.
Family Practice Physician Karina Urquia, of Lufkin, explains parents have to be especially careful with children, when it comes to safety in the sun.
"We do know that sun exposure is additive," Urquia said. "So, you have to be aware of that. The sooner you're exposed to the sun, obviously, you know, the more additive that's going to be."
Sunburns, sun tans, and even freckles are signs of sun damage and increased occurrences of any of these can lead to some serious issues.
"The main thing that you have to worry about is obviously melanoma," Urquia said. "That is bad. I mean, it's really bad. And a lot of the time it does not get detected prematurely, so that can have bad consequences."
Lufkin mother of three, Emily Havard said that she's already started practicing sun safety with her newborn son.
"He wears the hat all the time," Havard said. "We try to keep him in the shade as much as possible because we know his skin is more sensitive. So, whether it's the shade on his little float or an umbrella out by the pool."
Doctors say umbrellas and hats are fine for newborns, but, for older, more active kids, sunscreen is a necessity.
"If they are out in the sun, say at the beach or at the pool, that kind of thing, it probably needs to be applied before getting in the water, waiting approximately five minutes to make sure that it's good and set," Urquia said. "And, probably reapplying ever two to three hours."
Urquia tells her patients to use sunscreen with an SPF of 70 for the neck down and for the face, SPF of 100+ is ideal.