Science and Vampires

I’m just like any other 22-year-old girl who fell in love with vampires when Twilight hit center stage. I will say when I was about ten years old that my aunt made me watch Interview with a Vampire with her (lots of movies that were scary to me at the time actually) except for this one I didn’t think it was scary. I thought vampires were pretty cool, for the basic reasons; immortality and psych-kinetic powers. Even though Ann Rice set the ground work for me with my fascination with vampires, Stephenie Meyers sent my teenage self into a whole other world. Her vampires are different than the traditional vampire and she caught a lot of flack from people because of it. Personally I thought she brought something new to the creature and she made a ton of money while doing it so all the power to her. I won’t get into all the differences, but one characteristic that lines up is some type of reaction when exposed to sun light. For traditional vampires they blow up, and in Anne Rice’s case, they turn to ash. Essentially, they die. Whereas Meyer’s vampires skin reflects off the sun and sparkles in the sunlight. This is where I had my epiphany moment. Traditional vampires condition with the sun can be thought of as having a sun allergy, times a million.


My Husband


You’re probably wondering where the heck I’m going with this. I’ve been seeing a dermatologist this summer due to a allergic skin reaction I was having to a medication that I was taking. My symptoms were red spots on my inner arms, inner thighs, and chest. These spots would be irritating and very itchy, and since I scratched them, they spread to up around my neck. She was rather puzzled by this because of how they developed she and her colleague were not quite sure how it developed. When She found out that I was on a biologic medication that for an autoimmune disease I have, we both came to the realization that being on a drug like that compromises the immune system. That was a piece of the puzzle for her so she did some more tests on pieces of my skin. In no way am I comparing myself to a vampire but I thought it was an interesting correlation. Even though it may sound crazy for someone to be allergic to the sun, its very much so a medical condition.

The general scientific term for a sun allergy is called “Photosensitivity”. This is caused by having a have a skin reaction to sunlight that is caused by a disruption in the immune system. This mostly happens when the skin is exposed to the sun. The areas of the body that have been seen to get affected the most from sun-exposure are the “V” of the neck, the back of the hands, the outside surface of the arms, and the lower legs. This reaction can sometimes look like tiny blisters, a rash, or even a skin eruption, but that is a rare occurrence. Excluding the back of my hands, my skin has reacted in those areas. Doctors do not know why this happens to some people and not to others but there is evidence that suggests that some sun allergies are inherited genetically. Some common types of sun allergies are; Polymorphous light eruption (PMLE), Actinic prurigo (hereditary PMLE), Photoallergic eruption, and Solar urticaria. Here is a site that talks more about sun allergies.


This is roughly what my chest looked like.

From looking at some of these I can rule out a couple of them but I won’t self diagnosis myself because that leads to unnecessary anxiety. I know I won’t blow up in the sunlight like a vampire or even sparkle (I’m not that cool), but I do know that, at least for some people, vampires and humans seem to have that in common. Even if its on a basic level for humans.

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