How to survive the sun when you have Lupus

HOW TO SURVIVE A DAY IN THE SUN WITH LUPUS (and why you should limit that time)

How Do You Survive A Day In The Sun?

Wow, where do I start with this post? This seems to be the toughest part of Lupus especially when it comes to explaining why you’re wearing long pants when it’s 100 degrees.

When I go out in the sun long pants, T-shirt or dress, umbrella, sunscreen, sunglasses over top of my glasses and lots of water. In all honesty, because I get so sick from sun exposure I do my best to avoid it. Which is absolutely no fun, but I’d rather miss some of those get-togethers to avoid days and days of suffering after.

I have a child who is an athlete and just happens to play soccer, which equals days in the sun in mid-June,-October. The regular season isn’t quite as bad as pre-season. (summer months weekend tournaments etc) Though I do get sick from going I want to be there to support him so I go.

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How I Survive It!

A few things I have tried that seem to help:

Wearing long pants (nothing too tight or too heavy)

T-shirt, or quarter length or long sleeves

A lightweight dress

A wide brim hat

Umbrella (a must)


Water, Gatorade no soda or caffeine

Cool rags, ice packs

Benedryl, Dramamine, Ibuprofen

A Fan

Wearing long pants (nothing too tight or too heavy)

Long pants? Yes, absolutely No shorts for this lady the less exposure the better. I don’t even own a pair of shorts.

As crazy as it sounds even on a hot July afternoon people with Lupus have to be covered and limit sun exposure as much as possible. I wear a very thick layer of sunscreen and always have my umbrella or seek shade.

One of the best ways to protect yourself from UV radiation is by wearing sun-protective clothing. And since UV rays can pass through thin, light-colored fabrics it’s best to wear tightly woven, dark-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants, along with wide-brimmed hats.

Some types of fibers provide more protection than others. Such as unbleached cotton absorbs UV rays, but polyester and silk have a high sheen and will reflect UV radiation. You can also find clothes like these at most sporting goods stores.

Staying Cool and Hydrated

We all know these are important to remember especially during the summer months when we are outdoors in the sweltering heat. Lupus or not this is worth mentioning over and over.

I have one of those battery-operated fans with a water bottle attached to help stay cool. Ice packs and cool rags are a huge help.

The heat can make me just as sick and miserable as sun exposure, so I work extra hard to prevent it as I can.

Benedryl, Ibuprofen, and Dramamine go with me anyplace I go. Severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, and joint pain always accompany sun and heat exposure with me.


Even with long sleeves and UV protected clothes? Yes, any part of your body that may get sun exposure needs protected and not a thin layer. You need a good thick layer of sunscreen.

Try to find a sunscreen that has the following:

  • has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more
  • provides broad-spectrum protection, blocking UVB and UVA rays
  • contains physical blockers, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide
  • is hypoallergenic

Artificial light needs a quick mention, unfortunately for some even artificial lighting such as fluorescent lighting, photocopiers, and tanning beds can have the same effect as the sun on those with Lupus.

If You Go Outdoors Stay Protected

Though people with Lupus should definitely limit sun exposure you can still go out and participate in outdoor activities.

Just stay covered and protect your body as much as possible from harmful UV Rays. Seek shade even if that means always being under the umbrella.

I hope you find this information useful!! Have a very Blessed Day, Myla

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