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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 94-98

Sun Exposure in Children: Balancing the Benefits and Harms

1 Allergy Immunology Unit, Department of Paediatrics, Advanced Paediatrics Centre, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Dermatology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Ankur K Jindal
Allergy Immunology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Advanced Pediatrics Centre, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/idoj.IDOJ_206_19

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There is a common belief among the laity and even physicians that sun exposure is a useful source of vitamin D. However, despite the fact that sun exposure occurs almost throughout the year in India, vitamin D deficiency is widely prevalent. Although several authors have reported on the duration of sun exposure required to synthesize adequate amounts of vitamin D in the human body, they have not followed a standard and uniform protocol for measurement of sun exposure and vitamin D synthesis. For these and many other reasons, the results are difficult to interpret. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has clearly stated that infants should be protected from the sun as much as possible and vitamin D requirements should be met through diet and fortified foods rather than deliberate sun exposure. However, this recommendation is frequently ignored in clinical practice. This review aims to summarize the available literature on benefits and harm of unprotected sun exposure in infants and children with a focus on skin phototype IV to VI. Dermatologists and pediatricians in India should counsel parents about the need for sun protection, especially in fair-skinned infants and children.

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