The sun's rays start causing cellular damage almost immediately- for most people this is not a problem because their body can easily handle the small amount of damage normal sun exposure causes. Unfortunately, in many lupus patients this damage causes the over active immune system to become even more active. Thus many will feel ill and/or have a flare if they spend time in the sun. I have extremely fair skin and have always- I do mean ALWAYS because this was a problem for me even as an infant- had odd reactions to the sun. I get headaches, nauseated, start sweating even if I am cold, have chills, and a few other problems within 5 minutes of being in the sun with heavy duty sunscreen. If I am out longer it becomes much worse. 5 minutes is enough to bring out the malar/butterfly rash for me. I burn very quickly too. Within 10 minutes my skin begins to burn (I use 50SPF sunscreen or higher if I know I will have any sun exposure otherwise it would be even worse). I am one of the unlucky ones in that for me the sun sensitivity is so horrid. Sun sensitivity can come in varying degrees of severity. My rheumy says that mine is one of the worst she has ever seen. My husband and I joke about my needing to live on Vampire central time. The only time I go outside in daylight is when there is something that I have to do which cannot be done after the sun goes down. All of our windows are covered 100% of the time and when we buy a car we make sure the windows have a special anti-uv film on them to help protect me while I am stuck in the car.
As for feeling like you haven't slept in days, yeah that is part of lupus especially after an illness or during a flare.
I hope that this helps, I am sure others will respond as well. I have a suggestion, try and get ahold of THE LUPUS BOOK by Dr Wallace and visit www.butyoudontlooksick.com they are both wonderful resources and the website has something called the spoon theory that can help explain how lupus affects your life to others who may not otherwise have a clue.
Dx:fibromyalgia 2002, systematic lupus 2005- definate CNS involvement dxed late 2005, psoriasis 2006, rheumatoid arthritis 2006, PTSD 2007, multiple allergies 2005, migraine, compression fractures T11 & T12, Sjögren's, damaged periphrial nerves 2007, pregnant due May 2008
Tx: plaquenil, Enbrel, Darvocet, Singulair, Flexeril, Baby Asprin, Imuran, Procardia, Prilosec