What are flares and triggers in children with lupus?

Lupus is also a disease of flares, when the symptoms worsen and the child feels sick, and remission or “quiescence” (kwy-es-ents), when the symptoms improve and the child feels better. Knowing which factors lead to disease flares is an important part of managing lupus. Some common triggers are:

  • excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or from artificial light
  • a viral or bacterial infection
  • stress
  • exhaustion

It is important that all members of the child’s health care team know about new symptoms. These may indicate a worsening of disease, or a new complication.

As much as possible, encourage your child to let you know about any changes in how she or he feels, physically and mentally. If your child does not feel comfortable communicating to you in person about these symptoms, encourage the keeping of a handwritten or computer diary of symptoms and feelings. Or, ask your child’s favorite nurse or physician’s assistant to make the request.

In addition, keeping your own journal can help you remember questions you want to ask the doctor, instructions or information you are given, medication side effects you observe, or anything else concerning your child’s health and care. These notes can be very helpful as you and your family learn about lupus and how to adjust and adapt, both now and in the future.

Medically reviewed on August 16, 2013

This article was published by the Lupus Foundation of America Office.