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Lupus Health Center

Preventing a Lupus Flare

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Your doctor has put together a treatment plan that is designed specifically for you and your lupus. This probably includes physical and emotional rest, aggressive treatment of infections, good nutrition, and avoidance of direct sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light. Your doctor may have also prescribed medications to control disease symptoms and other health problems that you might have. One of the most important ways you can help yourself is to understand your treatment plan and the things you need to do to keep your disease under control.

Sometimes, despite the treatment plan and your efforts, you may experience a lupus flare. A flare is a worsening of symptoms that signals increased disease activity. A variety of factors can cause a flare, and you should contact your doctor immediately if you suspect a flare is developing. The doctor will evaluate your condition and take steps to control the seriousness of the flare. He or she will also reevaluate your overall treatment plan and make any needed changes.

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Warning Signs of a Flare

  • increased fatigue
  • a new or higher fever
  • increased pain
  • development or worsening of a rash
  • upset stomach
  • headache or dizziness
  • development of symptoms you haven't had before

What Triggers a Flare?

A flare can be triggered by one factor or a combination of factors.
The most common are:

  • overwork or not enough rest
  • stress or an emotional crisis
  • exposure to sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet light
  • infection
  • injuries or surgery
  • pregnancy or the time right after the baby's birth (the postpartum period)
  • sudden stopping of medications for lupus
  • sensitivities or allergies to items that you put on your skin, such as hair dye, hair permanent solution, makeup, and skin creams
  • certain prescription drugs
  • over-the-counter medications, such as cough syrup or laxatives
  • immunization

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