Rash.....need opinions

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Leigh1978
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/16/2008 7:02 PM (GMT -7)   
I have recently been diagnosed with lupus and I am still slightly confused as to what I should expect (as far as symptoms). For the past 2 weeks, whenever I am exposed to fluorescent lighting (uncovered) I start to get a skin irritation on my arms and hands (red, blotchy and sometimes burning sensation)
Today, I was in the supermarket and within 10 minutes of exposure, my arm started getting a mild rash (though it did start to feel like a burn). The rash usually disappears within an hour after I'm no linger near the bulbs.

Has anyone experienced this before?

PattyLatty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 9/16/2008 7:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Leigh, and welcome to the forum,

I had a conversation about this with my rheumy a few months ago and she told me that while most people don't have a bad reaction, (and I'm one of the lucky ones) some in fact do react as most of us lupus patients react to the sun. In other words, some folks, and you appear to be one, get skin irritations, rashes, and something similar to a sunburn. In a situation like this I would call my reumy and ask for their advice, but until then I'd stay covered up and use sunblock and a hat whenever I had to be under fluorescent lights, just like you would when exposed to the sun.

What a double whammy! I really feel for you because it's enough of a hastle to go through life trying to avoid the sun, but in your case, you're really going to be the hat lady that lathers with sunblock!

As far as other symptoms, you'll find that we all have different symptoms and no two lupies are just allike. What have your symptoms been so far? What took you to the doctor? Have you suspected lupus for years, as a lot of us did before we were diagnosed? We love to hear people's story and would love to hear yours.

I think you'll find that this forum is a friendly and supportive place and I hope you get the answers you're looking for.

Pat
Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines, costocondritis.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, tricor, acifex, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


Leigh1978
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/16/2008 7:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Pat- thank you so much for your reply. I did speak to my doctor and he said that my temporary rashes could definitely be from the lights.
I actually never thought I had lupus, and I honestly can't remember if I ever had these symptoms in the past. I did think I had bursitis at one point, but never followed through by going to a doctor. As for fatigue, I felt it often, but again never put too much thought into it.

A little over a month ago I started taking the "quit smoking" pill Zyban (also known as Wellbutrin). The first day I took the pill, weird things started happening......intense fatigue, muscle aching....I even felt as if my throat was swelling. Needless to say, I stopped taking the pill 4 days later. They very next day, a few of my joints started to become inflamed and I called my doctor immediately. It started to subside the next day, but then I made the mistake of hanging out in the sun all day. By the end of that day, I could barely move. So many of my joints became inflamed and started to swell.

Basically, that is how it has been (on and off depending on the day) for over a month now. The rashes started about 2 weeks ago.
It may sound crazy, but I think the Wellbutrin pill triggered something. Have you ever heard of something like that?

PattyLatty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 9/16/2008 8:10 PM (GMT -7)   
We've had lots of conversations here about triggers and I think we can all agree that triggers are as varied as we lupies. I haven't personally heard of Wellbutrin as a trigger but that doesn't mean anything at all. Surely you've told your rheumy about it..

Many of us believe we've had a mild form of lupus that lingered for years till something triggered a flare. I believe the trigger for my worst flare was stress.

I hope others here will answer your question about triggers.

Pat
Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines, costocondritis.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, tricor, acifex, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 9/16/2008 8:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Leigh,
 
Holy guacamole, I'm soooooo sensitive to fluorescents it's crazy!  I truly believe I have an allergy to them.  I get the skin rashes but only after being under them for several hours.  But if I'm in Walmart or the grocery store, I feel physically ill if I'm there for more than 5 minutes.  It's brutal.  I had to quit my job and become self employed mainly because I couldn't work anywhere!!  Every place has those dang flurorescent lights.  They're poison skull .  So now I work from home.
 
I was in the ER on Friday for 8 hours.  I was under a fluorescent light the entire time.  I got a nasty looking rash on my arms, which went away within an hour of leaving the hospital.  (Like your experience). The next day, I had a massive swollen gland on my neck and I have a mild UTI.  I think it was the lights..... I didn't have a swollen gland or a UTI when I went to the ER......
 
Poison I tell ya!!!
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke),Sjogren's, Raynaud's, seizure disorder-(miraclulously disappeared!), Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck) . Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, didrocal, Cozaar, Tramacet, calcium, Cykolokapron, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus


Leigh1978
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/17/2008 4:00 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Ginny-
Thanks for writing. Like I said, this is all very new to me, and its hard for me to figure out what is and what is not lupus related. I always assumed that lupus came on gradually, but from my experience, that has not been the case....the onset was very fast! Was this the same for you?

Ginny
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 9/17/2008 5:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Leigh,
 
Well, my symptoms came on suddenly, but they were mild.  So the course of action with doctors was slow. By the 5 year mark, I was having many more symptoms that lasted longer and were more suspicious.  By the 7 year mark the symptoms were clearly autoimmune, and I was in rough shape. A five day visit to the hospital resulted in my diagnosis. Lupus can be a tricky disease.  It really is so different for each person. 
 
When you're so new to the diagnosis and treatment, it can be hard to determine what is causing your symptoms.  Think of it this way... If your symptoms are something that a "person without an autoimmune disease" wouldn't get - then it's your lupus.  Like the rash.  A healthy person without lupus wouldn't get that.  They can soak up the fluorescent rays or sunshine and not get a rash or feel sick.  So if the symptom is weird and wacky, dollars to donuts, it's your lupus.
 
What medications are you taking and how long have you been on them?  
 
 
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke),Sjogren's, Raynaud's, seizure disorder-(miraclulously disappeared!), Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck) . Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, didrocal, Cozaar, Tramacet, calcium, Cykolokapron, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus


Leigh1978
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/17/2008 7:09 AM (GMT -7)   
My doctor just started me on Plaquenil....started taking it this past Saturday. So far, I haven't really had any side effects (hopefullt that will continue), but I still feel like my symptoms are really not severe enough to warrant this medication. That is why I am going to see another doctor.

Are you on this medication?

PattyLatty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 9/17/2008 7:30 AM (GMT -7)   
Leigh, Most lupus patients are on Plaquenil, and in fact it's usually the first med we're prescribed, often before we're even diagnosed. It's a wonderful drug that can help symptoms like joint pain and fatigue, which many lupus patients have, but it can also help your lupus keep from getting worse. The first three months you're on this med can be the hardest in terms of side effects. You may be one of the lucky ones that don't have any, though. Typical side effects are tummy problems. After my body adapted to Plaquenil, I've had no side effects whatsoever. My rheumy tells me I'll have to take it for the rest of my life.

I do think seeing another rheumatologist is always a good idea. Second opinions never hurt, especially if you don't concur with your doctor's suggestions.

Did your doctor give you the results of your labs? Do you understand what they mean? Is he a rheumatologist? If not, I'd run, not walk, to a rheumatologist, who's a specialist in autoimmune diseases.

You're smart to be asking lots of questions and seeking second opinions. I'm glad you're here.

Pat
Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines, costocondritis.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, tricor, acifex, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


Serina
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 431
   Posted 9/17/2008 9:00 AM (GMT -7)   
If your symptoms are something that a "person without an autoimmune disease" wouldn't get - then it's your lupus. 
 
What a wonderful idea.  And it is so true.
 
I too cannot be under flourescent lights, and wal-mart is one of the worst places to go. I do not get the rash but I start to hurt all over if I am in the store too long, like I have the flu, and will have those flu symptoms for two or three days after I leave the store.  So I get my basic things for a month from walmart, because they are so cheap, and pick up incidentals from other stores.  Food Lion lights do not seem to bother me as much.  My daughter thinks that it is because Wal-mart has so many of the flourescent lights.
 
Never even considered the flourescent lights at the hospital.  Stupid me.  No wonder my energy is drained after being in the hospital.  I assumed it was the stress of being in the hospital.  Stress seems to be a big factor with me in relation to Lupus.
 
I too look forward to  posts about triggers.  everyday on this forum is a learning experience.
 
Hester
Lupus diagnosed 1996, Heart by-pass 1998, breast cancer 2000, stroke2002, vascular surgery 2005, heart attack in 2007, and had a stint put in, Sjogren's Syndrome 2008
 
******
aspirin daily, multivitamin daily, Arthrotec 50mg twice daily, Meclazine 25 mg, as needed 4x daily, Hydoxychloroquine (plaquinil) 200mg twice a day, Metoclopomide 10 mg, 4x daily, Doxepin 50 mg one cap 4x day, Metoprolol 100 mg daily, Levothyroxine (synthroid) 50 daily, Amlodipine 5mg daily, Crestor 10 mg one tab daily, Lisinopril 40 mg, one tab daily, Omeprazole (prilosec) 40 mg daily, Plavix 75mg daily, promethazine 25mg x4 daily, Restasis one drop in each eye every 12 hours
 


Leigh1978
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/17/2008 9:45 AM (GMT -7)   
I first went to my primary doctor and he said that it could definitely be the start of lupus or rheumatoid arthritis (according to my symptoms and ANA results).
I immediately went to a rheumatologist and he is the one who diagnosed me through both symptoms and additional blood work which he did explain to me.
He didn't show any doubt that that was what it was.
But, I do intend to see another rheumy ASAP.
I guess I was under the assumption that most lupus was controlled by anti-inflammation drugs and something as simple as Alleve.
I really do appreciate your responses........it's helping a lot :)

Leigh1978
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/17/2008 2:36 PM (GMT -7)   
I forgot to ask.....any possibility that gallstones/gallstones attacks have anything to do with lupus?

PattyLatty
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 2570
   Posted 9/17/2008 4:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Not that I'm aware of Leigh. I did have my gallbladder removed last January but I don't know why or how it could have been related to my lupus other than the fact that prednisone has caused me to gain a bunch of weight which is not good for one's gallbladder.
Lupus, osteoarthritis, fibro, renauds, restless leg, hiatal hernia, double vision, migraines, costocondritis.
cellcept, neurontin, prednisone, plaquenil, synthroid, triamterene, tramadol, actonel, tri-est, imitrex, cymbalta, tricor, acifex, multivitamin, calcium w vit D, fish oil, aspirin


Leigh1978
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 35
   Posted 9/17/2008 5:18 PM (GMT -7)   
Patty-

Thanks- I was just curious (recently started gallstone attacks- not something I expected).
Sorry to bombard you with questions (not seeing the doc again for a few weeks).....I need to start writing things down because I tend to think of things to ask the doc after I leave the office :)
The joint flare started the first week of August and I think I may be over. Sometimes I go 2 days w/o anything being painful/inflamed, but since this past Monday everything seems to be OK. Is this a good indication that the flare is over, or is there really no clear pattern to this?
Again, even after speaking with the doctor, I am still so unclear about everything.

Baybreeze
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 315
   Posted 9/19/2008 10:30 AM (GMT -7)   
I also have problems with some fluorescent lighting. Some days it just makes me very drained & tired; at my last job, I had a big, long fluorescent light right above my desk , a few inches from my head. The desk had a hutch type thing on it, and the light was attached underneath it. Well, when I first sat there with that light on, I felt severe burning of my face and any area of my neck/sternum area that was exposed. It felt as if I was out in the full sun at noon or sometimes it felt like flames close to my skin. It also turned those exposed areas very bright red. I could not take it, so I stopped using a light.  It also was burning my eyes and I was getting migraines from it. Turned out about a 1/2 year later after continuous eye problems, I went to an Ophthalmologist and was diagnosed with dry eye syndrome too. I don't know for sure if the light on my skin causing such burning & redness was from my lupus or not, but it seems pretty probable
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