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Shiffler: Four ways to keep your kids safe from the summer heat


The high heat of the Arizona summer is right around the corner. With temperatures quickly reaching into the triple digits, it is important to keep your kids safe as they play outdoors. Let’s look at four natural ways you can protect your children this summer from heat-related issues.

Add hydrating foods to your kid’s diet

Proper nutrition plays a major role when it comes to protecting your children from the hot temperatures of summer. Make sure your children are eating sun-smart foods that can fortify their skin from within. Add fruits like berries, watermelon, oranges and vegetables like carrots and spinach to their diets to help combat the UV rays. Additionally, foods high in vitamin E, and C like citrus, seeds and nuts can help contribute to skin health.

Always keep your children hydrated by having them drink plenty of water. For kids who might be picky with what they drink consider hydrating drinks like KinderLyte or Pedialyte. Another option is Ceralyte hydration powder that you can mix with water. This oral hydration powder contains sodium and potassium that the body loses through dehydration. It is also a gluten-free option with the glucose source coming from rice.

Use natural sunscreens

When choosing a sunscreen for your child look for mineral-based sunscreens instead of chemical-based. Products containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide create a barrier on the surface of the skin that helps reflect the sun’s rays. These natural ingredients provide protections against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays without causing irritation to your child’s delicate skin. Look for sunscreens labeled “mineral” and “broad-spectrum,” for the best results and be sure to choose an appropriate SPF for your child’s age. Typically, choose an SPF that is 50 and above for best protection.

Try herbal remedies

If your child is ever overexposed to sun and develops a sunburn, there are natural ways to provide relief. Consider using natural ingredients like aloe gel, known for its cooling, moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties to provide relief to sunburnt areas. Along with aloe, topical calendula can be used and teas like chamomile and green tea offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits when applied topically to the sunburnt skin. These natural remedies can help alleviate pain and help the skin heal.

Practice sun safety

Teach your kids about being safe when playing out in the sun during the summer. In Arizona it is hot from the moment the sun comes up to well past when it goes down. Teaching your kids how and when to get protection from the heat is crucial to their health during this time of year.

Explain to your children the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If their skin becomes cold and clammy, it is time to get indoors and cool off. If they begin to feel dizzy, they need to find an adult. Teach them the importance of drinking water even if they don’t feel thirsty. Never let your kid play outdoors without plenty of water.

Also, teach them if they are ever going swimming to be sure to reapply the mineral-based sunscreen you have given them. Swimming will obviously wash off some of the sunscreen so it will need reapplication after getting out of the pool.

Every parent must understand the danger of the Arizona heat when it comes to children. Protecting your kids from the sun rays by incorporating natural solutions will provide comprehensive care for their delicate skin. Whether it is providing nourishing fruits and vegetables high in water content and vitamins or embracing natural sunscreen solutions, you can be prepared to protect your children during the hot Arizona summer.

Dr. Shiffler, a naturopathic medical doctor at Be Well Medical Primary Care in Chandler, https://www.bewellaz.com/, is a graduate of the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, now known as Sonoran University, and specializes in holistic, integrative, and personalized care to meet her patient’s health concerns.

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