Fever is often a part of lupus. For some people with lupus, an intermittent (coming and going) or continuous low-grade fever may be normal. Other people, especially those on large doses of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or corticosteroids, may not have fever at all because these drugs may mask a fever.
If you have lupus, you may be more vulnerable to certain infections than are other people without lupus. In addition, you may be more prone to infection if you are taking any immunosuppressive drugs for your lupus. Be alert to a temperature that is new or higher than normal for you, because it could be a sign of a developing infection or a lupus flare.
Amanda Greene, 43, stashes a tube of sunscreen in her purse and car so that she can reapply it throughout the day -- as frequently as some women touch up their makeup. Using sun protection is second nature for Greene, who was diagnosed with lupus (SLE) at 15 and is photosensitive.
"I use it from head to toe 365 days a year, whether it's gray or sunny," says Greene, a Los Angeles lupus advocate. "Some women reapply lipstick -- I reapply my SPF. It's part of living with lupus."
Women who have lupus...
Take your temperature at least once a day (or more often if needed) to determine what a "normal" temperature is for you.
Take your temperature and watch for a fever any time you feel chills or do not feel well.
Call your doctor immediately if you have a new or higher-than-normal temperature.
Even if you don't have a fever, don't hesitate to call your doctor if you do not feel well in any way, particularly if you are taking aspirin, NSAIDs, or a corticosteroid. Signs of infection other than a fever include unusual pain, cramping or swelling, a headache with neck stiffness, cold or flu symptoms, trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in urine or stool.
"The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin
Diseases of The National Institutes of Health. Fever and Lupus. Last revised,
January 26, 1999. (Online)