You, Lupus and the Sun

slide01_sun-umbrellaWhen you have lupus, protecting yourself from sun exposure is an essential part of managing your condition. Photosensitivity or abnormal light sensitivity is very complex and is a major symptom of lupus. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) loosely defines photosensitivity as “a skin rash as a result of unusual reaction to sunlight.” Beyond skin rashes that can develop, exposure to the sun can cause those living with lupus to experience increased disease activity with symptoms such as joint pains, weakness, fatigue and fever. Two-thirds of people with lupus have increased sensitivity to ultraviolet rays, either from sunlight or from artificial inside light, such as fluorescent light — or both.

The risks of UV radiation

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of invisible radiation that’s present in sunlight. There are three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. According to research published in Autoimmunity Reviews, UVB rays seem to cause the most problems in people with lupus. UVA radiation can also contribute to symptoms.

When you have lupus, exposure to sunlight may trigger symptoms such as:

  • lupus rash or lesions
  • fatigue or weakness
  • joint pain
  • internal organ swelling

Wear protective clothing

To protect yourself from UV radiation, wear sun protective clothing that reflects or absorbs sunlight before it reaches your skin.

Your eyes are just as important. Wear sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection as close to 100% as you can get.


UV rays can pass through thin, light-colored, and loosely woven fabrics. For optimum protection, wear tightly woven, dark-colored, long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as wide-brimmed hats. Certain types of fibers also provide more protection than others. Unbleached cotton absorbs UV rays, while polyester and silk with a high sheen reflect UV radiation. You can also find high-tech “sun protective clothing” designed to block UV rays at many sporting goods stores.

Choose the right sunscreen

In addition to wearing protective clothing, cover exposed skin with sunscreen. Look for sunscreen that:
  • 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

Test the sunscreen on a patch of your skin to check for signs of sensitivity or allergic reactions. Store it in a cool place and throw it away after a year. Sunscreen can become less effective over time and when it’s exposed to heat.

Avoid common sunscreen mistakes

Apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before you head outside. Make sure to cover easy-to-miss areas, such as:

  • the middle of your back
  • the sides of your neck
  • your temples
  • your ears

If you apply it too thinly, your sunscreen won’t provide the protection indicated by its SPF rating. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you should use about an ounce of sunscreen — or a shot glass full — to cover your body.

Don’t be fooled by fog or clouds: UV rays can still be strong in cool and cloudy weather.

Stay in the shadeImage result for stay in the shade

To protect yourself from UV radiation, avoid sunlight when it’s strongest. For example, stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you have to go outside, stay in shade provided by trees, an umbrella, or an awning. Installing sun shields on your house and car windows can also provide the UV protection you need.

Ask your doctor about drugs

Phototoxicity is a dangerous reaction that can happen when light and certain chemicals combine. For example, phototoxic reactions can occur when your skin is exposed to sunlight after you take certain medications. These medications include certain:

  • antibiotics, such as azithromycin
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as diclofenac
  • diuretics
  • oral diabetes drugs
  • cardiac medications

Talk to your doctor to learn if any medications you’re taking might cause problems.

Don’t forget about artificial light

It’s not just sunlight you need to guard yourself against. For people with lupus, artificial light with UV rays can also cause problems. Sources of this light include:

  • fluorescent lighting
  • photocopiers
  • tanning beds

Limit or avoid exposure to these artificial light sources. Avoid tanning beds altogether, since they could worsen your condition.

Be Sun Smart With Lupus


If you are photosensitive, the best rule is to avoid midday and tropical sun entirely. Unfortunately, that’s not always the most practical advice, especially if your job or family situation requires that you spend time outside or near UV rays.

People with lupus should not stay in the sun for extended periods and should make every effort to avoid UV rays outside, which are at their peak between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Don’t be fooled by an overcast day, because clouds don’t filter out all of the sun’s UV rays. Keep track of the time you spend in the sun. It can take anywhere from hours to days before skin abnormalities occur from sun exposure.


It’s True

It’s True…. Your body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted you to believe!

I read that statement and said to myself It’s True! My body can be healed from all of the aches and pains if only I believed. Not only do I have to believe but I have to take responsibility for what I bring to my body through my mind, mouth and heart.

I have noticed as I go through this “tiny” battle with Lupus that I am more in charge of the little things going on in my body day to day. By the way I speak to myself and how I speak to this disease sets my tone for the day. Even when I have been feeling bad and lonely and like a waste of a good life, I have learned to really talk myself out of that mindset of misery. I know it sounds so simple but It’s True!

I have realized that if I tell my mind the way I want to feel, that I actually trick it to make my body feel that way. The mind is so complex, but can be easily led in the right direction to tell your body what to do if you work hard and consciously at it.

I’ts True, what I allow to get to me will ultimately be the demise of me, IF I give it that power over me.

It’s becoming increasingly important to me to heal not just my body, but my mind and soul from the terrible effects that Lupus renders on them. It’s not rocket science, I can do it if I just believe and realize that everyday doesn’t have to be a battle if I don’t make it one!

It’s true, no need in giving any power to Lupus through things I can control! #LupusInColor

Five Empowering Habits

Five Empowering Habits of the Lupus Warrior

1. Complain less and applaud more – Just because you are fighting a hard battle, you make a conscious choice to complain less about the fight and applaud your effort more to overcome the trials of lupus.

2. Speak well over yourself – Speaking to yourself in empowering ways removes the desire to stay still in the pain lupus brings. It also conditions your brain to see the brighter side instead of the hill you are climbing.

3. Be selective in your talk of your battles – Every battle that lupus puts you through is not worthy of discussion with yourself or others. Sometimes the lupus warrior just has to fight and not talk to stay focused on the win.

4. Understand it’s a bad day not a bad life – Lupus brings many difficult days, it doesn’t mean your life is worthless. It simply means you have to put on your battle gear and fight. After all, you’ve won every battle so far, that’s evident in the breath you just took.

5. Value yourself above all lupus issues – Yes, parts of you are broken, but that doesn’t mean you as a whole are broken. Lupus can damage your body, mind and spirit so, its up to you to work hard in keeping strong and keep high value in self worth. You are a warrior that never quits, say it to yourself daily and the warrior will see and focus on your strength, bravery, faith and love beyond anything lupus can bring.


May 31 Fact

Butterflies of HopeFlight of the Butterflies

Spreading Lupus Awareness One Butterfly at a time

Let this butterfly flutter all over cyberspace!
May 31 Lupus Fact

Lupus Awareness Month Recap!

Lupus is one of the cruelest, most mysterious diseases on earth—an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. Research shows lupus is more pervasive and more severe than people think, and has an impact that the public doesn’t realize. You have changed that! By helping Lupus In Color raise awareness of lupus and showing support for those who battle its brutal impact.

Some facts we have shared about lupus through Butterflies of Hope Flight of the Butterflies…

  • Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body.
  • An estimated 1.5 million Americans and at least 5 million people worldwide have lupus.
  • No two cases of lupus are alike. Common symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, overwhelming fatigue and fevers that last for days or weeks. Most people with lupus don’t look sick.
  • Lupus can impact any organ or tissue, from the skin or joints to the heart or kidneys. Two leading causes of serious illness and death from lupus are kidney disease and heart disease.
  • Lupus usually develops between ages 15 and 44 and it lasts a lifetime.
  • Lupus can strike anyone, but 90 percent of the people living with lupus are females. Men, children and teenagers develop lupus too.
  • While people of all races and ethnicities can develop lupus, lupus occurs two to three times more frequently among African Americans, Asians, Hispanics/Latinos, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans than among Caucasians.
  • While the causes of lupus are unknown, scientists believe hormones, genetics (heredity) and environmental factors are involved—more research is needed to better understand the role of these factors in people with lupus.
  • Lupus can be expensive to live with and treat. The average annual direct and indirect costs incurred by a person with lupus can exceed $21,000 annually, a higher cost per patient than those living with heart disease, bipolar disorder, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma.
  • Lupus can be difficult to diagnose. There is NO single blood test to diagnose lupus, and its symptoms mimic those of other diseases, vary in intensity and can come and go over time. More than half of those with lupus suffered at least four years, and saw three or more doctors before obtaining a correct and final diagnosis of lupus.
  • Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing long-term consequences of the disease. If you notice signs or symptoms of lupus, be sure to engage your doctor and ask questions.

Thank you for spreading lupus awareness with Lupus In Color. Please continue to get the word about about lupus. Support a warrior, gain and share understanding beyond lupus awareness month.

This is your thirty-first butterfly of hope. 

We need awareness and a cure!

Encourage everyone you know to let it FLY!

#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #SpreadLupusAwareness

May 30 Lupus Fact

Butterflies of HopeFlight of the Butterflies

Spreading Lupus Awareness One Butterfly at a time

Let this butterfly flutter all over cyberspace!

May 30 Lupus Fact

People with lupus take on average nearly eight prescription medications to manage all of their medical conditions including lupus.

This is your thirtieth butterfly of hope. 

We need awareness and a cure!

Encourage everyone you know to let it FLY!

#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #SpreadLupusAwareness

May 29 Fact

Butterflies of HopeFlight of the Butterflies

Spreading Lupus Awareness One Butterfly at a time

Let this butterfly flutter all over cyberspace!

May 29 Lupus Fact

In lupus, a spectrum of symptoms varies widely, the treatment team must be designed for each individual case of lupus. A dermatologist will be involved if skin lesions are present; a neurologist if cognitive loss occurs; a nephrologist will monitor kidney function; a cardiologist will monitor the heart; a hematologist will assist with any blood disorders; and a rheumatologist will deal with the lupus as a whole. Other specialists will be needed depending on what organ systems are affected.
This is your twenty-ninth butterfly of hope. 

We need awareness and a cure!

Encourage everyone you know to let it FLY!

#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #SpreadLupusAwareness

May 28 Fact

Butterflies of HopeFlight of the Butterflies

Spreading Lupus Awareness One Butterfly at a time

Let this butterfly flutter all over cyberspace!

May 28 Lupus Fact

While medical science has not yet developed a method for curing lupus, new research brings unexpected findings and increased hope each year.

This is your twenty-eighth butterfly of hope. 

We need awareness and a cure!

Encourage everyone you know to let it FLY!

#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #SpreadLupusAwareness

May 27 Fact

Butterflies of HopeFlight of the Butterflies

Spreading Lupus Awareness One Butterfly at a time

Let this butterfly flutter all over cyberspace!

May 27 Lupus Fact

One of the symbols used to identify lupus is the butterfly, the other is the wolf. The symbol was chosen because of the butterfly shaped rash that often appears on the face of many lupus patients, and that is a hallmark sign of lupus. The butterfly emerges from the dark confines of a cocoon, transformed into a beautiful graceful being, like a lupus warrior emerging from the confines and limits of a long difficult flare. Lupus warriors are beautiful and strong, they live with many challenges and embrace their lupus walk with zest and courage, living their lives with joy, despite lupus. Lupus warriors are like butterflies in that they live with many struggles. The ultimate goal for them is to have a change in their life that will give them their wings of freedom in health. The lupus symbol is a symbol of hope in tomorrow for a better day, for a cure. The symbol is beautiful but the disease is not!

This is your twenty-seventh butterfly of hope. 
We need awareness and a cure!

Encourage everyone you know to let it FLY!

#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #SpreadLupusAwareness

May 26 Fact 

Butterflies of HopeFlight of the Butterflies

Spreading Lupus Awareness One Butterfly at a time

Let this butterfly flutter all over cyberspace!

May 26 Lupus Fact


This is your twenty-sixth butterfly of hope. 

We need awareness and a cure!

Encourage everyone you know to let it FLY!

#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #SpreadLupusAwareness

Butterfly Flight Wytress Mitchell


Flight of the Butterflies is a lupus awareness campaign sharing stories of the brave lupus warriors. Many don’t understand lupus until they hear the walk of a warrior. Flight of the Butterflies is dedicated to sharing those stories in May for lupus awareness month.

Flight of the Butterflies Begins…..
Flight of the butterfly Wytress Mitchell


Poised In Stilettos On The Front Pew

Wytress Mitchell is a native of Houston Texas with 42 years of experience as an educator, functioning as a teacher and a principal. Wytress has personally encountered and walked through the challenge of being diagnosed with Lupus. The journey opened her up to an amazing fortitude to push pass all odds.

Wytress’ story reflects her strength to push pass pain, isolation and stay poised.

Faith and prayer was her main support system that guided her daily.

One day while walking through the hallway of her school she fell to her knees with a pain that could not be described, In addition there were two incidents when her heart had sped up so rapidly that it had to be stopped and restarted. From 2011 to 2014 Wytress was in and out of the hospital every month.

The debilitating disease was very painful and life altering.
Wytress then had to give up a 42 year career that she was totally dedicated to and that she loved dearly in order to regain her strength. She was saddened when she could no longer physically pursue her passion educating young people.

Wytress unwraps the enigma of Lupus by giving valuable insights, knowledge and wisdom, in her latest book that she penned.

She will capture your attention as she details the challenges triumphs associated with surviving Lupus. Who can better educate and make aware but one who has lived it.

One day in 2011 everything became foggy.. I could no longer walk, drive, or even fix my own food. Everything in my life shifted. I lost my home, my job, wages and my quality of life . Once a champion swimmer I could no longer even tread water. My life went into what seemed like a never ending spiral . I took a financial plunge and now had to depend on my family.

I could no longer perform simple tasks. I was always in pain and always exhausted. I had to fight everyday. One thing I learned to do was keep a smile on my face and fix up and take selfies everyday.

You don’t often think of a 63 year old woman being diagnosed with Lupus because most times it’s an earlier diagnosis. But it can happen it happened to me at the most inopportune time.

However I’m living proof that even at this age you can push, readjust your thoughts, and your eating habits, and live.

Wytress is the Queen of taking sour lemons and turning them into a tall cool glass of lemonade and being very poised in doing so.

Lupus may have hurt my feelings but it didn’t hurt my faith.

Now that 2017 had rolled around I’m walking, back driving , able to do small task, able to go shopping, and most of all educating about Lupus Awarness.

Read more about my incredible journey in my new book “Poised In Stilettos On The Front Pew.

Lupus In Color is excited to present Wytress’ story to the world. As a Lupus Warrior she is actively promoting lupus awareness and wearing the armor of strength in doing so. Lupus In Color Salutes you Wytress Mitchell.


#LupusInColor #ButterfliesofHope #FlightoftheButterflies #Brave #Courageous #Strong #SpreadLupusAwareness