As summer is almost upon us and the sun is shining down on us, it is important to know the risk to look out for. If you have lupus, then protecting yourself from the sun is an essential part of managing your condition.
Many people that suffer from lupus may experience photosensitivity or sensitivity to sunlight. This can lead to skin rashes, itching and burning. In some cases, it can also lead to flares in systemic lupus, causing symptoms such as weakness, fatigue and joint pain.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe in the sun.
Wear protective clothing – Try to cover up all skin with clothes to avoid exposure to sun little. For the best protection wear dark, tightly woven materials so that the sun cannot travel through the material.
Find the right sunscreen – test the sunscreen on a patch of skin before you use it all over your body to check that it does not irritate your skin. Look for a sunscreen that is:
• Sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher
• Contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
• Has a broad spectrum of protection (blocks UVA and UVB rays)
Apply your sunscreen right
• Apply your sunscreen around 30 minutes before going out in the sun
• Make sure you cover all your body – Back, ears, temples and neck
• Add a new coat every 2-3 hours
Stay in the shade where possible – Try to avoid being in the sun when it is strongest (between 10am – 4pm). Use trees and umbrellas to shade you when you do go