On sunscreen.

…Also on stupid people. Why send your kids to school if the school is run by idiots?

Sometimes I feel lucky to be living now- I feel like I know so much more about health and prevention than any other generation. Even people born a couple of decades before me didn’t know nearly as much as preventing skin and lung cancer as I do, about physical fitness, and everything else. And then I read something about, for example, a school banning sunscreen.
And I realize that the world is still pretty scary, and that either I am the smartest person in the world, or everyone currently in charge is very, very stupid.
If you read this article, you will learn that a school in San Antonio, TX has banned sunscreen, and they’re not the only ones. According to the school mentioned- where a mother is angry because her daughter got a burn on a field trip- sunscreen is “like medicine”. A very, very small number of students have allergies to some sunscreens, and if they share the sunscreen then they could have a reaction. So obviously the solution is to send all of the kids out for field days, trips, and other outside activities without it. The mother is angry because even if she puts sunscreen on her daughter she goes to school, you have to reapply every couple of hours. Yes reapplying sunscreen. Remember that? How many kids even do that in schools where sunscreen is permitted?

This stuff is super dangerous.

My mom always had sunscreen for vacations and outside sports. I learned about it early. but even then, we didn’t put on sunscreen for everyday activities, and it wasn’t until I was in high school that i understood about things like reapplying and having sunscreen on even on a cloudy day.
I learned all this the hard way during a big day at camp-international day- the summer before sophomore year. The Minnesota woods on a cloudy morning- everyone actually thought it would rain and that our whole event would be cancelled. I don’t remember if I forgot my sunscreen or just decided not to put it on, but either way I put on a tank top and went without, hiking a mile or so to the next camp site over for a day of singing, dancing, and being outside. Around late morning the sun started to peek out, and soon there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It hadn’t rained at all- weather can change like that, but if you’re like me and don’t typically spend whole days outdoors, you don’t know this. I started to burn. And then I kept burning. The worst is that I didn’t notice for several hours until someone else pointed to my shoulders, which by then were peeling. I bought a t shirt just to cover my shoulders, which by then were itching, and someone else lent me their sunblock to help prevent further damage; I can’t remember now if it was a counselor, a kid, or a nurse. But there were plenty of people around who were happy to give me some when I realized I needed it. And as it was, everything from my face to my elbows had burned worse than it’s ever burned since. Believe me, I never forgot to bring it with me to something like again.

The latest research suggests that even one bad burn as a child can raise your cancer risk- while that is the only really serious burn I had, I can’t imagine how many more I would have suffered as a kid if there hadn’t always been some available when I went places. I understand that kids have allergies. But how is that some other kid’s- and by extension some other parent’s- responsibility?

Also, believe it or not, dangerous.

 

This comes up with food allergies too, peanuts of course always being the biggest priority. And while I understand that banning peanuts in a classroom is probably easier than risking a bunch of kids who aren’t great at cleanliness, is it better in long term? And yes, I have been told there are kids who could get sick even from the smell of something, and while I’ve never met one, I’m inclined to believe it. But the world isn’t going to bend for them in the long run. Children deserve to be trusted with their own health- if your child has an allergy, whether it is peanuts or shellfish or an additive in sunscreen, you need to educate them. Every so often there’s another incident of a teenager or college student who eats contaminated food because they don’t understand the severity of their own allergies, or someone else near to them who gets them sick because they haven’t been told either- but at that age, how can anyone else be expected to know? The reality of allergies is that, like any other illness, no one is going to understand it unless you tell them. And you can’t tell them if you don’t know yourself. It goes back to the parents…who should be protecting their kids with information and safe alternatives, not pushes to ban things and placing of blame on schools.

Because really, no matter how allergic your child is, it shouldn’t stop other kids from being able to use sunscreen, or lip balm, or anything else that works as a preventative that schools are insistent on banning these days. Which leads me to once again believing I could never send a fake future child of mine to a public school, although that’s probably a topic for another day.

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Author: elizabethlorraine

Writer, actress, runner, knitter, and geek.

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