Friday, June 16, 2017

Summer time

It's summer time!!!

There are numerous activities everyone loves to enjoy outdoor.  Grilling.  Fishing.  Camping. Swimming.  Boating. Bicycling.  Drive in.  Gardening.  And more!!

With Lupus, these things are highly risky.  Lupus itself doesn't respond well to UVA/B exposure.  We burn more readily, causing rashes, lesions and a host of other flare responses.  Many of the medications we take increase sun/photo sensitivity.  Even with a very good sunblock/sunscreen, I burn within 15 minutes.  (I prefer Cera Ve SPF 50.)

I try to minimize my exposure by doing things after 6pm when the sun is very low in the sky. I wear very wide brim hats, sun glasses, sunscreen...yet...I still have issues.

Photosensitivity will vary from person to person, just as our disease does.  Per WebMD, "if you havelupus, you might be photosensitive -- meaning you have an unusually strong reaction to sunlight. In fact, about two-thirds of the people with lupus are UV light-sensitive. Many experience an increase in lupus symptoms after being exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, either from the sun or from artificial light.

Photosensitive people may develop a skin rash, known as a butterfly rash, which appears over the nose and cheeks after sun exposure. Other rashes might look like hives. Sunlight may cause also a lupus flare, resulting in fever, joint pain, or even organ inflammation."

The other thing we have to be concerned with is skin cancer.  The ease of burning causes damage and it will eventually catch up to us.  Over the past two years, I have had 15 actinic keratoses frozen off and two squamous cell carcinoma in situs removed.  I wear long sleeves in a light weight SPF fabric to protect those areas where my issues are. 

With all of this being said, LIVE YOUR LIFE.  Wear a good sunblock.  Reapply often.  Use umbrellas to shield your skin.  I had a medical scare this past March, on which I will blog about later once I am fully ready to discuss it.  Now, I make it a point to spend a large part of the day on Saturday exploring.  My husband and I go walking, do wine tastings, visit family.  We are making the most of our lives and not letting my lupus (and other health issues) control me or us. 

Love your self.  Live your life one day at a time.  Give yourself permission to be happy.