A few people (less than 5 percent) are extremely sensitive to ultraviolet light and need to take extra precautions. For most people, the reason for the heightened sensitivity is because they carry a specific type of antibody: the anti-SSA (Ro) antibody.
Taking Some Simple Protective Steps
People with this heightened sensitivity can do some helpful advance planning:
- Several companies make clothing that contains UV protection in the clothing itself. This is a great idea and offers and additional layer of sun protection.
- Your doctor may recommend that you get your car windows tinted. Additional tinting added to windows is regulated by each state, and there are different ratings for the front, side, and back windows in many states. These range from Colorado (permits no tinting at all on the main section of the front windshield) to California (the law specifies that 70 percent of light must still come in the front windshield). Check your state’s regulations.
- There are several different processes available for tinting, but in general the cost will range from $200-$400. (Occasionally medical exemptions are given.)
- If traveling with someone who does not have tinted windows, take a scarf or light throw of some type so that you can cover any part of your body that might be exposed.
Indoor Measures Can be Important
If you have heightened sun sensitivity, you may also need to avoid some indoor dangers: mercury vapor lamps, xenon arc lamps, halogen or tungsten light sources can be a problem, as can spending too much time photocopying because of the light leakage around the copying bed.
Fluorescent lighting may also cause problems. The Solar Screen Company in Corona, NY actually makes a protective sleeve that can be used to cover fluorescent lighting.
Brought to you by Lupus LA.
Research based on The Lupus Book: A Guide for Patients and Their Families by Daniel J. Wallace, M.D.