DoctorSolve August 2011 Healthletter Edition                                                 (If you cannot read this, click here)
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As summer starts winding down, most forget about how much they are exposed to the sun, and how harmful it can actually be. So stay protected with that sunscreen.

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What Is Sun Exposure Doing To Us?

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Allergies, mosquito bites, and sun burns are not the best part of summer but those nice days at the beach make up for it. You can put the mosquito repellent on, and after use the allergy medication, but who wants to do all that extra work for sunscreen? Protection from the sun is probably the most important out of the three as unprotected sun exposure can damage your body severely.

Risks of sunburn can vary from mild to severe. The worst effect of too much sun exposure is Melanoma skin cancer. Melanoma skin cancer is the most deadly type of skin cancer, yet the most common skin cancer is Basal cell carcinoma which affects 1 out of 5 people. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers so it is good to take that extra step to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Another problem with too much sun exposure is sun burn. When the skin is sun burnt, the skin cells have been damaged making it look dry, discolored, wrinkled, and having a leathery feel. Skin that is sun burnt may look thick but it is actually very weak which allows the skin to bruise and tear easily. Furthermore, wrinkles are also caused by sun exposure. 90% of coarse and fine wrinkles have been formed by sun exposure. Wearing sunscreen from a young age can improve your skin to make you look younger in your older years. Other problems with over exposure to the sun are freckles, benign tumors, and discoloration of the skin.

The sun is not all bad for you. The exposure we get from the sun provides us with a source of vitamin D which increases our absorption of calcium to build strong bones. The absorption of vitamin D reduces the risk of loss of bone density later on in life. Ten minutes of unprotected sunlight daily is recommended for the intake of vitamin D from sunlight.

Finding the perfect sunscreen for your self is crucial. Choose a sunscreen that you would be comfortable wearing each day you are outside and that will not make you feel sticky or uncomfortable. If you know you are spending a lot of time outside, wear a sunscreen with a high SPF. A sunscreen with SPF 15 will protect you from 93% of UVB rays while a sunscreen with SPF 30 will protect you from 97% UVB rays. Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before going outdoors. If you are outside for a long period of time, apply sunscreen more than once during the day. Make sure that you are protected along with your kids as well! Children over 6 months of age should be protected. For you to have a good time this summer, you need to be protected!

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Risk of Developing Allergies during Childhood

When your child is young, you protect them from any plausible danger to make sure they do not get sick or hurt themselves. Many people believe that keeping their kids away from other kids and animals will prevent them from getting sick which it may but this will not help them later on in life. The more exposure to animals and other children your child has, the less chance they have of developing nasal allergies.

Studies show children who grew up with pets, had siblings, or were around many other children had lower rates of allergies as adolescents in which case many adults say their allergies began when they were in their teen years. If a child is exposed to these factors in the first five years of their life they can decrease the risk of allergies but having a pet or being around other children in their first year of life has a stronger effect to reduce allergies in their adolescent years.

If a child grew up around farm animals before the age of five, they have lowered their risk of allergies by almost 30%. Also, if a household pet such as a dog or cat is present in the home in the first five years of the child's life, their risk of developing allergies has decreased by 15%. Those who had been around animals and were around siblings or other children had lowered their risk of allergies than a child who only had one option. Furthermore, this effect of preventing allergies has been proven stronger for boys than girls.

Having pets does not only reduce allergies for children but has many other benefits. Pets can keep children active, help to control emotions, and strengthen their immune system making it easier to fight off a cold. Having a pet in the home has also proven to reduce other allergies such as helping to prevent eczema. Pets can also show a child responsibility, enhance their social skills, as well as teach them to be patient. Although the theory that pets can reduce allergies has not completely been proven, it never hurts to have a furry friend around the house!

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