Article Text

SUN EXPOSURE HABITS AND PROTECTION PRACTICES FOR CHILDREN IN A COASTAL REGION IN PORTUGAL
  1. C Almeida Fernandes1,
  2. A Fernandes2,
  3. A S Campos3,
  4. A Tomé4,
  5. A Morgado5
  1. 1Pediatrics Department, Centro Hospitalar de Setubal, EPE, Setubal, Portugal
  2. 2Pediatrics Department, Hospital Nossa Sra Rosario, EPE, Barreiro, Portugal
  3. 3Primary Care Department, Fernao Ferro Primary HealthCare Center, Fernao Ferro, Portugal
  4. 4Pediatrics Department, Montijo Primary HealthCare Center, Montijo, Portugal
  5. 5Dermatology Department, Hospital Nossa Sra Rosario, EPE, Barreiro, Portugal

Abstract

Introduction and Objectives Melanoma is closely associated with sunlight exposure early in life. The aim of this study was to determine the sun exposure habits and to examine the frequency with which sun protection is used by parents for their children, in a coastal region of Portugal.

Study and Design Questionnaire application to 81 parents on pediatric consultation in a primary healthcare center from September to December.

Results 54.7% male, median age 5.9 years. 91.3% go frequently to the beach, 71.2% before one-year-old and 47.9% stay at the beach for 3 hours or more. Sunscreen is the most frequently used method (89.6%), but only 51.9% apply it one hour before sun exposure. Only 12% use long-sleeve shirts, 45.2% use sun glasses and 94.7% use hat. Only 3.9% referred sunburn in the last year. 47.7% were not counselled by their physicians about sun exposure.

Conclusion Most children go to the beach before the counselled age (<12 months). The most used sun protection is sunscreen, although its use is not correct: too frequent reapplication, late application, and its use in ages when the use of sunscreen is not recommended. There’s a need to stimulate the use of other protective measures and the need for medical counselling about this health-community problem.

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