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Sun Safety for Lupus Patients

by | May 29, 2023


Hey warriors,  it’s that time of year where we talk about sun safety! As many of you know lupus and the sun don’t mix very well.  This is due to lupians’ increased sensitivity to sunlight, which can trigger flare-ups and worsen symptoms. As we approach the summer months, it is essential for lupus patients to take extra precautions when spending time outdoors. In this article, we will explore effective strategies for staying safe in the sun and protecting your skin and overall health.

Understanding Photosensitivity & Lupus:

Photosensitivity, or heightened sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, is a common symptom experienced by many lupus patients. Exposure to sunlight can trigger a range of symptoms, including skin rashes, joint pain, fatigue, and even internal organ inflammation. To mitigate the risk, it is crucial to adopt a comprehensive sun safety routine.

Seek Shade and Time Your Activities:

One of the easiest, and most effective strategies for sun protection is seeking shade, especially during peak sun hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Whenever possible, plan outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon when the sun’s rays are less intense. If shade is limited, consider using a sun umbrella, wide-brimmed hat, or wearing lightweight, long-sleeved clothing to shield your skin.

Apply and Reapply Sunscreen:

Applying sunscreen is a crucial step in sun protection for lupus patients. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or above. Be sure to apply it generously to all exposed areas of your body, including the face, neck, ears, and hands. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if you are swimming or sweating.

Choose Sun-Protective Clothing:

Selecting appropriate clothing can offer an additional layer of defense against harmful UV rays. Look for clothing with a high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating, which indicates its effectiveness in blocking UV radiation. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide-brimmed hats can help shield your skin from the sun’s rays. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses that provide 100% UV protection.

Stay Hydrated and Keep Cool:

Lupus patients should prioritize staying hydrated, especially when spending time outdoors. Heat and sun exposure can lead to increased fatigue and dehydration, which can exacerbate lupus symptoms. Carry a water bottle and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Consider using a portable fan or cooling towels to stay cool and comfortable during hot weather.

Educate Yourself and Communicate:

It is essential for lupus patients to be proactive in understanding their specific triggers and symptoms related to sun exposure. Keep a journal to track your reactions and identify patterns. Share this information with your healthcare team, as they can provide personalized advice and recommend appropriate medications or treatments to manage symptoms.

Don’t Forget Indoor Sun Protection:

UV radiation can still penetrate windows, so it is essential to protect yourself even when indoors. Consider applying sunscreen to exposed areas, especially if you spend a significant amount of time near windows. You can also install window film or use curtains and blinds to block out UV rays.

Staying safe in the sun is crucial for lupus patients to prevent flare-ups and maintain their overall health and well-being. By adopting a comprehensive sun safety routine, which includes seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, applying sunscreen, and staying hydrated, individuals with lupus can enjoy outdoor activities while minimizing the risk of UV-related symptoms. Remember to consult with your healthcare team for personalized advice and guidance specific to your condition. With the right precautions, you can enjoy the sun responsibly and make the most of your summer.


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