Fun in The Sun: Summertime Living Tips for Lupus Patients
Watch the Video: Summertime Living Tips for Lupus Patients
Most people anxiously await the arrival of summer, but if you are one of the 1.5 million Americans living with a Lupus diagnosis, summer is probably your most significant source of anxiety.
The Connection Between Lupus and Summer Weather
Many aspects of Lupus remain a mystery, and many people don’t realize that sun exposure and heat can trigger symptom flare-ups, making vacation planning particularly challenging for patients.
Exposure to sunlight and high temperatures can worsen symptoms because of UVA and UVB rays that cause cell inflammation, often triggering a chain reaction of symptoms.
Studies reveal that photosensitivity is common among Lupus patients, with anywhere from 40% to 70% of people with lupus experiencing worsening symptoms such as joint pain, numbness, tingling sensations, and fatigue after exposure to UV rays.
How to Manage Your Illness and Still Enjoy Some Fun in The Sun
Summer can still be an exciting and enjoyable time for you despite your Lupus diagnosis. It may take some planning and extra precautions, but you are worth the time and effort.
Tip # 1: Speak to Your Doctor
As you start planning your summer vacation, it’s always important to work alongside your treating physician. Ask questions about your specific condition and any recommendations they have to prevent flare-ups.
Tip # 2: Choose Your Destination Wisely
If you are traveling this summer, choose destinations with milder weather conditions. Avoid areas with extreme temperatures and high UV index.
Tip # 3: Beat the Heat
Overheating during the day can cause temporary worsening of your symptoms. When possible, consider staying indoors during the hottest hours of the day.
An excellent way to keep cool is to bring a cool gel pack and a spritzer bottle filled with ice water when you venture outside.
If you are going on vacation, choose accommodations with air-conditioned rooms where you can cool off.
Tip # 4 Having Fun in The Sun
Your illness should not get in the way of your summer enjoyment; however, you may have to take extra precautions to protect yourself.
Wear protective clothing made from light fabrics such as cotton, linen, and rayon, and also wear a broad-rimmed hat. If your photosensitivity is extreme, consider buying sun protection clothing designed to block UVA and UVB rays.
Apply sunscreen before going outside. Make sure to reapply every 2-hours when you are outdoors. If you are in a pool or other body of water, you will need to reapply sunscreen more often.
Be mindful of reflected sun rays. Certain surfaces, including water, snow, and even windows, reflect sunlight, resulting in overexposure.
Tip # 5 Listen to Your Body
To ensure you enjoy your summer, make sure to listen to your body. Don’t overexert yourself. Stay home or the hotel if you are feeling fatigued or in pain. Your companions will understand.
Keep up with your medications and don’t miss your infusion treatments. In addition, try to maintain your diet as much as possible when traveling.
Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and cool.
Make the most of summertime by protecting yourself and planning your outdoor activities. Remember to carry a list of emergency contacts, including your treating physician, in case of an emergency.