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The Sun Factor

Both my GP & consultant have told me that fair weather has no effect on arthritis whatsoever, and there is no research to suggest otherwise. I'd agree to a lot of this, however! Just got back from Malta & my knees and feet seemed to love the sun! Had enbrel as soon as I got back (just as I was feeling great, back to reality). Does anyone else feel better with sunshine? All doctors I've spoken to say it's a fallacy that warmer weather helps.

14 Replies

Perhaps its psychological? Most people feel happier and more relaxed when the sun's out. Whatever the docs say, surely the body is physically more relaxed when its warmer - i.e. the muscles.

I'd support your suggestion that warm weather helps arthritis of any sort.


I agree with james x

Remember sun factor protection.. I am going to explode a myth on sun protection re high factor creams! factor 15 filters out 99% of the suns rays fact.. the higher factors give just an extra 1%.

Guide to choosing.. supermarkets own are often suitable..

look for the number of stars given to uva protection eg five star is optimum

sun light contains two types of rays uva and uvb..

personally I use factor 30 and I am meant to avoid sun with my medication..

do some times take 10-15 min carefully time without protection to get vitamin d

people wearing burkhas often suffer from vit d/ bone strength loss due to lack of sun exposure.


Hi Alison I'm going away in July to Majorca, can't wait, anyway I usually get nivea or Ambre Solaire. This year Superdrug have their own on offer at 3 for the price of 1! Have read all the reviews and and it as all the protection you mentioned so I'm hoping it will do the job as it save me a packet!

Mandy xx


Hi Mandy,

just back from Pollenca…loved it, where about's in Majorca are you going?



hi the skin allergy was almost certainly the poly morphic light eruption i mentioned.. before qualifying and working in pharmacy and getting ra i experinced this abroad in 40 degree heat was forced to cover.. old yugoslavia as it was then..croatia now.. saw a pharmacist .. foreign pharmacists speak good english.. allergy he said had to cover up all week and take anti histamines.. another weird tip got this too sprinkle athletes foot powder an affected areas.. passed this on to customers when working in retail pharmacies..


not sure about this i think its a personal feeling,as i am not a heat lover but do like the sun,i am on mtx 25mg and my skin goes odd if i catch the sun so i use 50+ factor if i am in the sun and yes i have big hat,cotton cover ups AND stay in the shade, i am a happy person anyway,so weather not a problem,but the sun does give a freedom feeling and people do smile more.


Well I think the sun and heat does help. My mother suffered badly from OA and when we went to Malta several years ago she felt so much better that we talked about moving there. I have got factor 30 lotion hope that will be ok. So pleased you enjoyed your hol. Sharon


When I was taking Sulphasalazine that made me more sensitive to the sun, so much so I cam out in a head to toe rash bit like hives all over the body. Back then though they didn't now to much about the drug reactions and was sent for a biopsy! Now they would just take you off it, I was then told to stay out of the sun! only thing was I was going to Corfu in a few weeks!

You still have to take care while in the sun with Sulphsalazine but mostly MTX is the one that can make you most sensitive.

I believe the RA itself as no reaction to the sun, however some people say they feel better in the sun I now I do if I'm abroad, but I think that's because I'm relaxing, no cooking,housework and all those chores we try to cope with we can just relax.

If I'm in a flare though I can often hate it as my joints are so hot I can't stand sitting in it.

I think were all different, and if sitting in the sun makes us feel better then as long as were very! sensible! with the sun protection then that's ok.

Mandy xx


gold injections which mean to avoid sun exposure irreversable blue skin pigmentation following my own advice i am gold in colour not bue.. i DONT advocate people with ra medication actively roasting in the sun.. the information about sun lotion is correct, this fact was learnt years ago when training. for. v SENSITIVE skin use block which is different !!containS zinc or titanium oxide compounds these act as physical white/ green barrrier often found in ski prepations.. cant imagine any of us here going skiing but might be wrong..

to summarise dont activately advocate roasting one self on beach.. factor 30 for normal skin suitable.. look for good uv rating.. can use adults or childrens or supermarket own., you dont need top brands unless on offer!


POLY MORHIC light erruptionSYNDROME.. this is a severe reaction to sun can occur to any one

ra meds or not.. usually european fair skinned and or red hair most suceptible

it akmost an allergic reacation to sun if you are particularly sensitve cover uo on completely and stay in the shade it is nasty.

never se sun between 11 and 3 ra and ra meds or not.


good that the sun helps but personally i see no difference actually the weather in MALTA is warm but still i'm in pain even last week i took an injection in my ankle but nothing changed i walk difficultly.


I agree…just back from Majorca, feet/ankles were awful before I went, totally dissipated in the sun :) Knees were better too. I actually did a lot of walking, well, for me at least.

Only drawback was skin allergy, used factor 30, (actually it was lovely ALOE by Forever) but should have been more careful. Never had probs before RA, so not fair, one thing gets better & another occurs! I took antihistamine & stayed under cover for a couple of days & it cleared, was only away for 6 days anyway…hey ho, was still fab :)

Also I think it's the pressure & dryness as well as the sun.


I'm someone who feels better when it's warm but not too warm -not that we get much choice in the British Isles! Around 70 -80 degrees and not too humid is fine so long as not doing too much walking. I went to Florida in August with my brother and his family about 6 years ago - hadn't thought about the heat/humidity affecting my joints so much. My rheumy told me (when I came back! ) that above a certain temp and humidity the thickened fluid in the joints with RA - full of white cells - will expand and that accounted for my knees and ankles feeling like they were being pushed apart. Luckily he had given me a shot of steroid pre-flight and I had steroid tablets with me but I ended up only going out every other day and staying in the air conditioned villa on the other days. Was lovely to have a warm pool :-) After my first Disney Day I had to use a wheelchair - too much walking in 100- 120 degree heat!. It was a fun holiday with v excited little (and big!) family members but wouldn't go somewhere so hot and humid again.

There is a psychological benefit to sunshine - we all feel better, people are happier and friendlier. My rheumy told me that many people decide to relocate to warmer climes but one has to weigh up the family, social support and sense of belonging versus the benefits of a warmer drier climate. Personally, if I won the lottery (ha!) I would have a second home in the South of France (where my family are from) and spend blocks of time there although even they had snow this past winter but nothing like the -18 achieved here in the far north east last winter!

Cece x


That answers a lot of questions when I've been TOO hot & uncomfortable. I genuinely don't think that it was a psychological sense of well-being on holiday, as I went on holiday with my mum & she got her handbag stolen with passport, so didn't get great opportunity to relax, as lot of travel to Police & British Embassy. My RA genuinely wasn't so bad, and I put it down to lovely dry heat. I'm not saying that everything was great, but I experienced a discernable difference when I got back. Foolishly, I didn't manage my pain that well on holiday (didn't feel it as much!). Well! Didn't I feel damn sick when I took my Oramorph! Nevertheless, I've held onto the lottery fantasy as well: second homes in Malta & Costa Dorada. Reality kicks in then; where would I go to rheumatology?!! Where's me painkillers? Oooh, me arthritis! Got to laugh, I'd cry my eyes out if I didn't.


think the right dry heat helps my local holiday inn has a nice coolish sauna great x


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