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Protecting yourself against ultraviolet sunlight

Lupus Foundation of America

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Ultraviolet (UV) light is invisible radiation from the sun that has three different ranges of wavelengths, called UVA, UVB and UVC (which does not reach us because it is absorbed by the atmosphere).  In general, UVA mostly ages the skin and UVB mostly burns the skin ("A Ages, B Burns"), although UVB also contributes considerably to skin aging and cancer.  Of most concern to those with lupus is the short ultraviolet wave UVB, however, broad spectrum UVA is also capable of causing skin rashes (lesions) and flare symptoms in those with lupus but to a lesser extent than UVB.

There are many ways of minimizing your exposure to the sun, including broad spectrum sunscreen and sun protective clothing. It is important to remember to stay out of direct sunlight during daytime hours (between 10 am and 4 pm). If you are going to be outside for more than a few minutes, you should wear a hat and use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Any sunblock you choose should block ultraviolet A (UVA) andultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Sunscreen should be applied thoroughly, especially to your neck, temples, and ears, as these areas are often affected by lupus related skin problems.

Should I get my car windows tinted?

If you are especially photosensitive, and spend a significant amount of time in your car, it may be a good idea to have your car windows tinted. Generally, individuals that have a condition that precludes sun exposure can obtain a form from their local department of motor vehicles (or the state’s public safety department) to give to their physician to be filled out and signed by their physician.  Standards and regulations may differ among states. You can contact your local department of motor vehicles for information in your state

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