How to Manage Lupus Flares
Lupus is an autoimmune disease with an extensive list of symptoms. The disease commonly affects the skin with rashes, inflammation, or lesions, and often increases sensitivity to sunlight and harmful ultraviolet rays. It can affect other tissues and organs including the nervous system, kidneys and lungs.
From a dermatology perspective the following are skin problems associated with Lupus:
Skin Lesions – Several types can result from different types and different stages of the disease.
Changes to Fingernails or Toenails – Nails may show redness or red spots, irritation and swelling below the cuticle or other areas.
Sunlight Sensitivity – The skin may be prone to sunburn and extremely sensitive to UV light, resulting in risk of sunburn or rashes. Dermatologists recommend staying out of the sun and wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 70 for lupus patients.
Flare-ups on Scalp – Hair loss may result. The hair loss may be reversed following the flare-up.
Rashes and Skin Irritation – A wide variety of skin conditions and irritations may result. They usually present themselves on the parts of the body exposed to the sun, such as the face and neck area, or arms and legs. The butterfly rash across the face is common in lupus patients.
How is Lupus treated?
Lupus is often treated with a medication known as Hydroxychloroquine, an immune-suppressive drug that is also used to treat malaria. When COVID-19 first came on the scene, it was often prescribed for patients, reducing the supply for those afflicted by lupus. Since then, the FDA has warned against its use in fighting COVID-19, which was good news for Lupus patients.
For skin problems, dermatologists often will treat the symptom with ointment or salves and medications.
While treatment is paramount in controlling lupus, there are factors within the patient’s control to reduce outbreaks.
How to Manage Lupus Skin Effects
- Reduce Exposure to Sun and Indoor Tanning
- Manage Stress – This involves raising the level of self-care, exercise, managing work/life balance, and other strategies. Therapy and counseling may also be helpful to lupus patients.
- Check in with Medical Professionals – When it comes to your skin, let your dermatologist know when any condition changes in your skin. Telehealth is sometimes an option for fast service.
- Avoid Risks of Contracting Viruses and Bacterial Infections – Stay safe and distance yourself from crowds and those who may be ill. Having an autoimmune disease places you in a higher risk category for complications from other illnesses and possibly longer recovery times. Keep a social distance from others and when indoors, consider using face masks.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with lupus and are experiencing rashes, lesions or other skin conditions related to the disease, make an appointment with a dermatologist at Suncoast Skin Solutions, Florida’s Most Trusted Dermatology. Each of our office locations has a dermatologist on site to evaluate your skin and perform an exam. Please call for details.