Is sun good for you?
As a parent, one of my main concerns through the summer months is children’s sun cream.
I have bottles of it stashed everywhere, including one in the car for when we inevitably forget to take one with us to the beach. When we do get to the beach, I’m tempted to try to keep everyone under the beach tent to shield us all from the evil rays of the sun.
But is it all bad? Is sun good for you? In reality, kids will be kids and a sensible dollop of sunlight does us good, even the little ones, because it is through sunlight that we absorb our vitamin D.
In fact, a recent report from Addenbrooke’s Hospital has shown that several children have recently been treated for rickets, a bone disease that had been virtually eliminated from Britain more than half a century ago.
Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D, and can lead to crippling bowed legs in children with the deficiency.
This finding illustrates the fine balance between too much and not enough exposure to sunshine, and in this age of technology-obsessed children who spend more time in front of a computer or TV screen and less time outside, the risks of not getting enough are increased further.
While it is essential that all of us – especially children, whose skin is more sensitive – are adequately protected from sunburn using high-factor sun cream, wearing adequate clothing and avoiding full sun between 11am and 3pm, we should also remember that some time in the sunshine is good for us.
So slap on the sun cream, grab your sun hats and get out of the shade for a while!
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