Message From Nurse Katie: Sun Protection and Allergies
It feels like we have jumped straight into summer! To follow are some tips to help you and your family get through the warmer days ahead.
Lightweight protective clothing is ideal, and hats and sunglasses are a great form of protection. It is also a good idea to apply sunscreen before school, especially on field trip days. Don’t forget to pack a water bottle!
It is worth thinking about the type of sunscreen you use, especially in light of growing research on the impact of chemicals in sunscreen on our health and on the health of the environment. Hawaii just banned many of the common sunscreen chemicals in an effort to protect their coral reefs (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/03/travel/hawaii-sunscreen-ban.html). Many of these chemicals are hormone mimickers or blockers, and may impact human health over a lifetime of use.
I have attached a great resource on sunscreens here:
Along with the sun, there are very high levels of pollen in the air. Many kids are suffering from seasonal allergic conjunctivitis—red, itchy, swollen eyes.
SEASONAL ALLERGIC CONJUNCTIVITIS
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) is a form of eye allergy that usually causes milder (but more persistent) symptoms during a particular pollen season(s).
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis — The most common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include redness, watery discharge and itching of both eyes. Other symptoms can include burning, sensitivity to light and swelling of the eyelids. Both eyes are usually affected, although symptoms may be worse in one eye. Rubbing the eyes can worsen symptoms.
Treating allergic conjunctivitis — There are a number of treatments available for the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. In addition, basic eye care is important.
Basic eye care
●Avoid rubbing the eyes. If itching is bothersome, use artificial tears, a cool compress or antihistamine eye drops.
●Minimize exposure to pollen by staying inside when possible, using air conditioning and keeping car and home windows closed during the peak allergy seasons. Hats and sunglasses can offer some protection.
Medications: Consult with your child’s medical provider
●People with sudden-onset symptoms can use a combination antihistamine/vasoconstrictor eye drop four times daily for up to two weeks. These are available without a prescription.
●People with seasonal or year-round symptoms are usually treated with a combination antihistamine/mast cell-stabilizer eye drops. Most of these require a prescription. Ketotifen is an eye drop in this category that is available without a prescription.
●An oral antihistamine (Claritin, Zyrtec, etc) may be most helpful when it is taken preventively (before symptoms develop). However, antihistamines may also be used to treat symptoms after they have started, although the greatest benefit may not be seen for several days.
*I have antihistamine eye drops in my office, and if you have given permission for these on your Over-the-Counter Form in Magnus I can administer them as needed.