Lupus, the Sun and UV Rays

Pain is triggered by many things when you have lupus. The main triggers are the weather .. and the sun. Photosensitivity is one of the most aggravating triggers of the disease. It doesn't take much exposure to ensure a reaction of pain.

Lupus patients are very sensitive to UV rays, especially those who suffer from Discoid Lupus. It is a known trigger for a flare! That is why it is so important to wear sunscreen when outside in the sun. But what most people don't realize is, they should be wearing UV protection inside stores as well.

UV rays from the sun can trigger reactions in the skin in the form of a rash, or purple spots under the skin called pupura, but will also cause muscle and joint pain.

People with Lupus must also be aware of "hidden" UV rays as in Fluorescent lighting. If you work in an area with fluorescent lighting, then you should be wearing a sun screen even while working inside the building.

Also .. for those of you who shop at Walmart or Kmart, most grocery stores .. or ANY store that uses the fluorescent light fixtures (long rectangle boxes with long tube-shaped light bulbs) .. please be aware that fluorescent lighting gives off UV rays unless the fixture is fitted with a special lens.

Most fluorescent lighting can be covered with a protective Plexiglas panel that allows light through but not the radiation that triggers the pain. There is a UV protective panel available for fluorescent lighting fixtures but because of cost, it is usually not installed in offices and stores.

A two hour shopping spree in Walmart is equivalent to a full hour in the sun. You don't get sunburned but you do get the full hour of UV rays. Enough to trigger a flare of itching, rashy skin, aching muscles, low grade fever, and/or extreme fatigue.

And you thought the shopping itself was making you ill .. guess again!! It is the lights in the store!

So go prepared .. wear your sunscreen .. use a hat or a scarf .. and even though you may be tired from all the walking, you wont begin a flare that will last for several days.

Computer screens also give off small amounts of UV radiation. Most people are not affected by it, but people with lupus or other photo sensitivities should take precautions. Especially if you are in front of the screen for long periods of time (more than an hour at a time, for days in a row).

The best thing you can purchase to help eliminate the problem is a monitor anti-glare screen that fits over the monitor itself. It knocks down the glare as well as blocks the UV rays. 3M company makes several different kinds.

Limiting yourself to short periods of time in the sun will help eliminate some of the pain, but wearing sunscreen is a must! Sunscreen should be at least 30 SPF, with 45 SPF being a better choice.

For UV filters that turn fluorescent light into a UV-safe natural light.

For a UV filter for your computer monitor:

Medical Exemptions can be purchased from the Department of Motor Vehicles for Lupus patients.

This exemption allows you to put a darker window tinting on your vehicle that is normally allowed by law. The exemption stays with the vehicle and upon sale of the vehicle, the darker tinting must be removed.
To find out your state laws on auto window tinting, go here:
Then double check your own state laws to make sure the laws have not been changed since the site was updated.


The materials and information on this site are intended for educational and informational purposes only. The materials and information are not intended to replace the services of a trained health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians and/or other health care professionals. You should consult your physician on specific medical questions, particularly in matters requiring diagnosis or medical attention.

All literary works and original artwork by Rion on this page,
unless otherwise noted, are the sole property of Brenda Sewell.
I do not mind sharing but please ask me first.

© 1998 - 2004 Brenda "Rion" Sewell

Email me at brendarion at


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