LOS ANGELES (CBS) — If you ask any 4-year-old boy what they want to be when they grow up, superhero may be top of the list. Kevin Risner is no different.
His mom says, “He’s absolutely obsessed with Batman.”
Except, the “save the world” outfit he puts on inside is to protect him from the world outside. Kevin is allergic to the sun. The outfit is UV protective clothing and headgear.
Kevin’s mom Jennifer noticed a problem a year and a half ago. During the summer months he had rashes and painful blisters. She thought he was allergic to sun block so switched to brands, but it didn’t end.
Nine months ago, after just 20 minutes on the playground at daycare wearing a short-sleeved shirt, he broke out in hives.
Sunshine is the usual problem Kevin has to deal with but on the day we visited him, he was on cloud 9 because it was pouring down rain. He thought that meant regular clothes and lots of outdoor play time.
Unfortunately, the UV index was too high.
“It’s hard for kids to understand, they see him and he clearly looks different,” his mom says.
Board Certified Dermatologist David Sire says they don’t really know what causes Kevin’s condition, polymorphous light eruption.
But there are ways to try to control it – sun protective clothing, sunscreen, a technique called skin hardening where he is slowly exposed to light and medications. He says it may get better, but there is no cure. The condition is five times more common in children than adults.
For now, Kevin is happy and healthy and ready to save the world. He doesn’t see himself as different and his mom just wants him to be happy.
She says relocating to a place where there is less light is an option but hard for a single mom who already lives with family. When he is older and he doesn’t feel like a superhero wearing his protective gear, they may do it. But even with clouds and rain, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have to cover up.
If you or your child gets rashes or blisters in the sun, talk to your doctor.
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