An informed arthritis patient is always an intelligent arthritis patient. Conquer rather than cope with your arthritis.

Lupus-how to take care of yourself in the sun

I have lupus. I've been told that sunlight can trigger lupus. how should I take care of myself in the sun?
  1. Wear a sunscreen on a regular basis. There are two different types of sun protection creams in the market- sunscreen & a sun block. Sunscreen actually absorbs the UV light before it gets to the skin while sunblocks form a barrier between the skin & the sun. You can read more about sunscreens here. Sun screen has to be applied to all the sun exposed areas including the face, nape of the neck, the upper chest, exposed arm/ forearm.
  2. If you have to go outdoors, avoid 10 am to 4 pm.
  3. Use full sleeve dresses instead of half sleeve dresses.
  4. Make sure that your car windows are coated with UV absorbing films.
  5. Avoid long drives with a window seat while travelling.
  6. Use UV protector sunglasses/ eyeglasses.
  7. Avoid sunbathing/ visiting tanning salons.
  8. Avoid outdoor jobs with extensive sun exposure.
  9. Indoor fluorescent lights do emit UV rays. Choose bulbs with low UV irradiance & avoid prolonged exposure.
  10. Remember that UV light is intesified near water, snow, open areas like fields, open parking lots.
  11. Dont forget to take adequate vitamin D as the sun protection would rob you of vitamin D.
What type of clothes should I wear?
Choose your clothes wisely to minimise UV exposure.
  • Weave thightness contributes to sun protection. tightly knit fabric of cotton is preferable to synthetic material.
  • Dark fabric provides better photoprotection.
  • How does ultraviolet light trigger a Lupus flare?
    Ultraviolet light is one of the most well known triggers of lupus. There are two main types of UV light; UV-A (320- 400) & UV-B (290-320). UV-B is mainly implicated in lupus but UV-A also plays a role. UV light may harm the skin cells. This can alter the DNA & proteins in the skin. At times, there is cell death & cell proteins are released. These altered/ released self proteins tend to trigger a antigen- antibody reaction. This reaction ultimately results in a Lupus flare. One may develop sunburn like reaction, a new rash, worsening of the existing skin lesions on sun exposure. This may lead to lead to a full-fledged flare; i.e. systemic symptoms including fever, fatigue, joint pain.

    Also Read:
    Lupus Nephritis
    Drug Induced Lupus
    Lupus band test
    Discoid lupus
    Pregnancy with lupus
    Neonatal lupus
    Treatment of lupus
    Identify a lupus flare early

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    Created on: April 2007
    Last updated on: Feb 2015
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