Warmer Weather Means More Precautions

by Gabby

I can be changed2

Since Lupus is a chronic auto-immune disease it means that my immune system is different than others. This disease will never go away and my immune system mistakes my body, tissues, and organs as foreign invaders and so therefore it attacks itself. As the weather warms up, that means more sun and with Lupus that causes more problems. Being affected by the sun is something called photosensitivity. Being in the sun for long or short periods of time causes things like: rashes, migraines, nausea, joint pain, pleurisy, chest pain, kidney disease, and central nervous symptom problems. Each person with Lupus is affected by the sun on different levels. For instance, when I am in the sun my symptoms can range from: a fever, migraine, joint pain and swelling, rashes, chest pain, and pleurisy. The one type of rash that may occur and that I get when I am in the sun is the Malar Rash or Butterfly Rash (a picture of this rash can be found in the blog post-Being The Best Version Of Yourself). The rash spans across the face, specifically from check to check bridging across the nose. However, around the folds of the nose the rash does not occur. Pleurisy is a diagnoses when the lining of your lungs is inflamed. This is very painful when breathing in and out. It is not only sunlight that can cause these things. If you have photosensitivity, fluorescent, halogen, and energy saving light/bulbs can cause the same damage. To help prevent or lessen these symptoms, you can wear special sunscreen, wear big hats, wear long sleeves and pants, and go out late day (it is better than mid-afternoon). To help with all most affectively you should wear all these things all year round and reapply the sunscreen multiple times a day. UV rays can penetrate through clouds on a cloudy day. Sun also reflects against the snow creating a just as dangerous season. UV light damages your skin. Your skin cells are called keratinocytes, causing the death of those cells. In people without Lupus, these cells clear quickly and if you were to damage these cells, creating for instance a sunburn, which clears relatively quickly. In Lupus patients the skin cells are more sensitive, and not cleared away efficiently, causing inflammation and other problems. With all of these precautions that need to be taken, and possible risks that I have each time I even get out of the car and walk to the door to go inside, I always make the best of it. I know I am very pale and that will never change. I cannot sun bathe like most people but I like to go to the pool in the late afternoon to read and enjoy the pool. I ask everybody whether you have Lupus or not to take sun protection very carefully and be aware that the sun is always out even if you can’t see it.

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