Here’s What to Do When Lupus Flares Up
This is probably one of the most important aspects of living with lupus, especially if you have big flares frequently. Some people with lupus are on benefits to survive, while others can work a regular 9-5 job.
If you have frequent lupus flares and don’t want to collect disability, having a flexible job is critical. Flexibility can range from working for a company as an independent contractor (such as Mary Kay or Avon), or strike out on your own and be your own boss.
If you’re one of the lucky lupus patients who can still carry on with a 9-5 job, it is important that your boss and co-workers are aware of what will happen if you have a long flare. This way, your boss will be prepared and your co-workers will be ready to pick up the slack.
Making preparations for this in advance can also reduce the anger some co-workers may feel toward you for having to up and leave. Although it definitely isn’t your fault, you’ll still have some shade thrown your way, especially if the flare lasts over a week and makes others have to work harder.
If you were a Scout, you’re already familiar with their famous “be prepared” motto. While there is no way to predict a flare or be fully prepared for one, you can always have an emergency kit or a stock of things you’ll need during your flares ready to go.
Personally, I’m a big fan of cold foods and popsicles during flares (I have no idea why, perhaps something to do with my rising body temperature?) and like to have cold packs on my joints. To prep for this, I’m always stocked with some popsicles and ice packs in my fridge, just in case.
Isn’t that what friends are for? Don’t be afraid to ask a good friend if he or she can come over and help you cook a meal, go shopping or even do some tasks around the house like bathing the dog or changing your sheets.
When you’re really sick, a lot of these things seem unimaginable, but with a friend or family member helping, you can really get stuff done.
You may even want to make it known to a local place of worship, or your own (if you have one), that you have lupus. Often, they have teams of volunteers that help aged members of their community, and even if you aren’t aged, you can definitely benefit from their help.
Even if you have friends and family helping you, allowing a volunteer to come over to help with a meal or wash your clothes can take a huge load off of those who are caring for you in addition to living their own lives. It might feel weird at first, especially if you are young, but that’s what the volunteers are there for — and they will be happy to help!
Be Gentle With Yourself
This is one I struggle with a lot. As a naturally ambitious person, anytime I get a burst of energy during a flare, I’m ready to go out and conquer everything I’ve fallen behind on. Try to resist that temptation, as it will make you even more tired or ill in the long run.
Instead of setting goals like finishing a big project when you have energy, set smaller, attainable ones. Walk the dog for 10 minutes, load the dishwasher, work on a small section of your project or dust the living room.
These small steps will help you feel more accomplished (especially if you feel restless during a flare for being unproductive) without pushing you overboard. If you feel you can do more, increase your activity little by little.
Remember, if you become the Tasmanian Devil when you have a burst of energy, you will likely pay for it later. Be reasonable and gentle.