The Lupus connection to Light Bulbs

Connection Between Lupus and Light Bulbs

Most, but not all, sufferers of Lupus are photosensitive. This means that they may be sensitive to UV rays. Let’s take a look at what that means, as well as discuss a little bit about how this may be related to light bulbs in the home.

What does photosensitivity mean?

Photosensitivity means that a person is sensitive to Ultraviolet light, or UV light as it is more commonly known. In most cases, this light comes directly from the sun. This is why it is recommended that those who suffer from Lupus do not head outside for long periods of time. When they do head outside, it is important that they wear sunscreen. Remember, just because it is cold outside, it does not mean that UV light is unable to hit your skin!

However, it is not only UV rays from the sun which can trigger the photosensitivity in a Lupus sufferer. There are some light bulbs out there which also give off UV light. Therefore, even if you stay indoors, you could still be hit by UV rays. This is why it is important to purchase the right lightbulbs which will be addressed below.

What happens in a person with Lupus and with Photosensitivity?

Well, it does differ from person to person. There are some people out there who do not suffer from regular Lupus flare-ups. However, they find that when they undergo prolonged exposure to UV light, their symptoms are triggered. In other people, it may just worsen the symptoms that they already have.

There are some people out there who do have Lupus and photosensitivity who will not ‘normally’ experience any issue when they are exposed to UV light. That all changes on their ‘bad’ Lupus days however. There are some people who have reported that they feel groggier when they are close to fluorescent lights and who find that their joint pain and rashes get far worse. As mentioned previously, this is all going to be dependent on the person who is dealing with Lupus.

Perhaps the most common symptom that is triggered due to UV light is a skin rash, known as a butterfly rash. This appears over the nose and on the cheeks. This is something which is normally associated with prolonged exposure to the sun, but it is something that can occur when a person is also subject to UV rays as a result of lightbulbs in the home or workplace.

What bulbs can have an impact on Lupus?

Well, all bulbs out there emit UV light. This means that they all have the potential to have an impact on those who are suffering from Lupus. However, it is worth noting that there are some bulbs which carry a greater risk than others.

The majority of photosensitive Lupus sufferers out there find that fluorescent lights tend to have the biggest impact on their Lupus. Most people will find that incandescent bulbs do not have an impact on their symptoms. However, do bear in mind that this is purely anecdotal evidence. There are no supporting studies related to this, although you may experience the same situation. This is surprisingly odd as fluorescent lights and incandescent lights do seem to put out the same amount of UV light, which means they should, in theory, impact people in the same way.

It is worth noting that newer lighting technologies have been introduced over the past few years including halogen and LED bulbs. At the moment, we do not know how these will impact Lupus sufferers as not enough evidence has been gathered at the time of writing. However, there are some individuals who believe that the longer wavelengths that these bulbs put out, the more of a negative impact on those who suffering from Lupus.

Dealing with Photosensitivity as a result of lightbulbs

Now, this is going to be dependent on the symptoms that you are suffering. The majority of people who are photosensitive will not really notice a chance when they are exposed to lightbulbs on a regular basis. However, there are some people who will notice a severe flare-up in their symptoms. There are some people who have to wear sunscreen inside, even during the coldest of weather. There are others who may have to wear a hat and some gloves. Basically, ensuring that their exposed areas are covered up.

In your home, you should have all bulbs covered up with a shade or filter. You can purchase filters which will eliminate the majority of the UV light which means that the chance of it causing your symptoms to flare-up should be reduced.

Of course, you could always go down the route of removing the major UV-emitting lights from your home, which should be fairly easy. However, you also have to bear in mind that public locations tend to make use of these lights (i.e. fluorescent lights) as they are cheaper to power and far brighter. This means that you can’t do much about this other than take the same precautions that you would should you go out ‘in the sun’.

It is worth noting that incandescent bulbs are the best for those suffering from Lupus. However, due to issues with the way in which they are constructed and their power consumption, they are tough to get hold of nowadays. In fact, they have almost been completely eliminated in the EU, which means that you will not be able to source them there. Some people state that the ‘next best’ alternative is to purchase ‘white LED’ bulbs (make sure it is a warm white) as it seems to be better for the skin. They also pump out a significant amount of light which means you do not have to deal with a dark home. However, you do have to be aware that it can be expensive to go down this route. Still, it beats having to go to the doctor time and time again due to your flare-ups.