For many, autumn is a time of corn mazes, Halloween costumes, and the coveted pumpkin spice lattes. If you have lupus, every change of the season means managing your symptoms a little different. Living with an autoimmune disease like lupus means one day you could be fine, then the next, you’re not. Here are some tips to help to manage your lupus throughout the season.
In the Morning
Waking up in the morning is a test when chronic pain and fatigue are a part of your life. If you have a job to get to or a place you need to be, set your alarm a bit earlier, so you can take the time you need to get ready. If your hair is affected, try to avoid stressing already fragile hair by forgoing the curlers, flat irons, and chemical treatments. For significant hair loss, try a wig, scarf, or head wrap.
The morning is also a great time to prepare for meals in advance and run any errands. Help avoid the heat of the day by getting these out of the way first thing, and group all needed trips together to allow for rest time later. Staying active can be challenging while managing lupus symptoms, but it can also be used to fight some of the symptoms. Low-impact exercises can fight fatigue. Water aerobics is another exercise option that also reduces the stress on joints that may be inflamed and painful.
In the Afternoon
Protecting your skin from the sun is not only important to do in the summer but also autumn and other seasons. UVA and UVB rays can trigger skin issues associated with lupus. Patches of raised sores or a butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks can appear after unprotected skin has been exposed to these rays.
If you are going to spend any time in the sun, make sure you are applying broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 30 or more. Wearing protective clothing like hats, long sleeve shirts, and pants can provide added protection. Alternate any daily tasks with rest, to reduce overexertion.
In the Evening
Approximately 80% of those diagnosed with lupus experience fatigue. Rest needs to be a priority and communicating the why to your family will help them encourage you to take it easy when needed. A healthy diet and setting good sleep patterns will ensure you get the rest you need at night.
Thirty minutes before bedtime, stop using any blue light related devices like tablets, computers, and cell phones. Bar any pets that wake you at night from being in the room. Keeping the room at a cooler temperature, having a white noise machine, and making sure you have a comfortable mattress and bedding are also great ways to master a good night’s sleep.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with lupus, clinical studies may be an option. Qualified participants receive study-related care and medication, along with reimbursement for time and travel. To read more about our enrolling lupus studies, click HERE.