Living with Lupus Corner with Mauricia Ambrose | Summer is Here!

Lupus Canada is pleased to present Living with Lupus Corner with Mauricia Ambrose

Summer is Here!

As a lupus patient, when was the last time you went on vacation? With a chronic illness, it sometimes becomes a chore to travel on vacation. Before the pandemic, I traveled with my son every year since he was a toddler. We haven’t traveled since restrictions were lifted except for a short trip to Newfoundland. We had a wonderful time but the effort to coordinate the trip was daunting. How can you make the experience enjoyable and survive the trip?

Plan, Plan, Plan

I learned the hard way that impromptu trips are not a good idea. Mostly, for me, because I am on dialysis, but for anyone with a chronic illness you need to ensure your destination can accommodate your needs. If I have a lupus flare and need medical attention, is there a hospital close by? What is the health system like in the country I am traveling to? Do I need medical insurance? Research is important. A little research can go a long way in making your vacation remarkable.


Make sure you have the medication you need for the trip with at least a week of extra pills in case of delays. If you have a difficult time keeping track of your medication, pick up a pill case at the drug store. Depending on where you will be, take over the counter medications for diarrhea, motion sickness, nausea or headaches. Medication for allergic reactions and mosquito bites – cortisone, are good ideas as well. Band-Aids and a first aid kit are a must have if you are going on a road trip. Stock up for every emergency.

Sun Protection

Many lupus patients are photosensitive. I am naturally protected from the sun with my melanin skin, however many of you need to protect yourselves from the damaging rays of the sun. Ensure that you have good sunscreen. Even though most would benefit from a sunscreen at SPF 15, for a lupus patient the recommendation is 30 SPF and above, however 70+ is ideal.  Sunscreen needs at least 20 minutes to start working effectively so apply it before you get outside. Make sure to cover all exposed areas thoroughly. Reapply every 2 hours, more often if you are sweating or in a pool. Lastly, wear a hat and clothes that will protect you from the sun.


Fatigue is a symptom of lupus, so it is important to manage your energy levels throughout your vacation. Slow down when you feel tired or even stressed. It’s ok to say no to an activity if you think you need to rest. Plan for more relaxing activities throughout the trip to make time for yourself. Take your favorite book or music and soak in the atmosphere.

Hydrate Regularly

This will help reduce inflammation and encourage a healthy immune system. In addition, lupus patients are particularly susceptible to the symptoms of dehydration. For example, dark colored urine, dry mouth, dry eyes, fatigue or sleepiness, headaches, confusion. dizziness or lightheadedness. This can become a serious issue if you have kidney disease. Staying hydrated can keep your kidneys healthy.

Travel with People You Like

Everyone hates a complainer – someone who makes everything a problem. Travel with like- minded individuals who understand and respect your needs; who will not complain if you decide to skip that party or drink at happy hour. You need to surround yourself with people who will help you if you have a flare up and can’t move as quickly as the others. For many years I never revealed when I was struggling, and it was the worst decision I could have made. Opening up to others about my illness has made such a big difference in my life. I feel free to heal.

You can have fun, exciting vacations, even with lupus, it simply requires a bit more planning, recognizing when you need to slow down, hydration and protection from the elements. Finally, surround yourself with a support system you trust.

Remember your struggles shouldn’t define you; they should motivate you. 

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Living with Lupus Corner with Mauricia Ambrose | Summer is Here!


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