Prolonged Close Exposure to Energy Saving Light Globes

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 26
   Posted 10/3/2008 6:26 AM (GMT -6)   
There is a lot of information which indicates prolonged "close" exposure to fluorescent light globes can trigger a flare. Would anyone know what the definition of "close" means e.g. are we talking about 5 feet away? The reason I am asking is I have been gradually replacing incadescent globes in my house with the energy saving fluorescent ones. In my bedroom my ceiling light which is directly over my bed is an energy saving fluourescent globe - without a light fitting over it. I also tend to work on my laptop in bed, often falling asleep with the light on all night. Lately I have not been feeling so well (I suspect I could be flaring) and I am wondering if I have foolishly contributed to this by the light exposure. I am usually very disciplined about minimising flare risks (e.g. I wear sunscreen all year around) that I am disappointed with myself for being so stupid and not thinking about the UV risk potential of fluorescent globes until today. From the literature I have read, if the fluorescent globe has a filter over it, the risk is minimal. Unfortunately, none of my energy saving globes have a filter/light fitting over them (long story.... basically have never gotten around to putting in light fittings)

Tá mé breá
Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 140
   Posted 10/3/2008 7:07 AM (GMT -6)   
about 2 months before I got really sick, we had replaced all the light bulbs with the florescent ones - they are also daylight bulbs, but I don't know if that changes anything.

We got rid of all of them when I read about the connection.
Marie-43 yr old mother of 6 grandmother of 1 going on 2!
dx 2008 - myelofibrosis - possibly autoimmune, osteoarthritis in spine, testing for possible MS or CNS lupus / vasculitis. family history - mother RA/Lupus maternal gma - lupus.
rx-cymbalta, propranolol, clonazapam, prednisone, progesterone cream, b6, b12, flaxseed oil, C.

"All we have to decide, is what to do with the time we are given" ~ Gandalf

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Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 5403
   Posted 10/3/2008 9:02 AM (GMT -6)   
I also have a bad reaction to flourescent lights, but I'm not sure how close you have to be to have a bad reaction. I don't think you have to be super close to them because I would get sick from them at work (when I worked) and they were in the ceiling. I also get sick from them at stores like Walmart if I am in the store too long. I have heard the filters are helpful. I'm not sure about the computer screen - I've heard conflicting reports about that.
Diagnosis:  UCTD (lupus) 2006; Raynauds 2006; Sjogren's 2006; lupus symptoms began 2003; UC 2008; CFS 1991; Mono 1985
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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 431
   Posted 10/3/2008 10:57 AM (GMT -6)   
I also get sick from them at stores like Walmart
Me too Hippiemom.  and one of the walmart stores here is worse than the other one.  there seems to be less number of lights in the ceiling, and therefore it is not as bad as being in the larger one.  this is my thinking.  and if these lights in Walmart affect us, from way high in the ceiling, it must be that close proximity to them makes no difference.
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, multivitamin, Arthrotec , Meclazine ,  plaquinil, Metoclopomide, Doxepin , Metoprolol, synthroid,  Amlodipine, Crestor, Lasinopril, Plavix, phenagrin,  Restasis  

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Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 675
   Posted 10/3/2008 12:50 PM (GMT -6)   

Well I'll be....I'm having an "aha" moment.  I have questioned my sanity for years because of feeling "weird" in stores....from grocery stores to mall stores, drug stores, you name it.  And Lord help me if there is a flourescent bulb that is flickering....anywhere!   It doesn't always happen, is sometimes fleeting, and other times a flare follows.  BUT - I have always thought that my reaction was more a warning that a flare was coming, rather than the flare being the result of the "exposure".   Some days are worse than others, and when I was working at my last job, I couldn't figure out what would cause that same sense of malaise/ill feeling that would just wash over me.  (Turns out mold was a part of the equation too - another story).

My husband wanted to switch out all the incandescents a couple years ago, but I refused because after trying one I couldn't stand the light that it gave off.  I thought it was an aesthetic thing....but now it looks like something more.  And the worst winter of my life was one in which I tried to sit in front of a lightbox every day, hoping it would make me feel better.  It did have a filter - but I just kept feeling worse and worse.  OY!

Thanks TPA for bringing up this subject!  Once again, this forum has succeeded in turning on a light bulb idea for me LOL!


diagnoses:  mono 1972; postviral CFS 1997; fibro 1998; CEBV 2005; UCTD (dx limbo) 2007
meds:  occasional low dose xanax for sleep, artificial tears w/ ointment at night, ibuprophin (none of which manages the problems very well!)
We cannot avoid the birds of sadness flying over our heads, but we need not let them make nests in our hair. 
       ~~ Chinese saying as quoted by Helen Nearing

Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2005
Total Posts : 315
   Posted 10/4/2008 5:56 PM (GMT -6)   
Most of the time, store lights don't bother me, especially if they are way high up, though I've had some times where I just felt ill after a while. However, where I used to work, I had a large fluorescent light right smack above my desk. I had a  desk shelf and the light was mounted underneath the shelf, so the light was about 5" from me. Well, I could not stand that light. I felt ill, as well as I felt like my face and any area around my neck that was exposed was on fire. It felt like bad sunburn, not to mention that my eyes could not take the light. So I stopped turning it on and rather worked without it.
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