A Parent’s Guide to Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common non-contagious inflammatory skin condition affecting up to 125 million people worldwide. Psoriasis can affect people of all ages, however, when it’s your child that’s suffering, it can be particularly worrying. If a child is affected and there are just a few patches, the condition can be treated effectively. Serious conditions require a more aggressive kind of treatment, but the prognosis is still good, and there are several options. If you’re concerned your child might be suffering from psoriasis, the first step is to get the right diagnosis. 

Psoriasis Symptoms and Signs

If your child is suffering from psoriasis, they are likely to have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Cracked and dry skin that is prone to bleeding
  • Patches of skin that are raised and red, often with silvery scales
  • Fingernails that are pitted and thick
  • A burning sensation, soreness, or itching in the area that’s affected

There are several different types of psoriasis, each of which has its own specific symptoms.

Plaque Psoriasis – symptoms include patches or plaques of dry red skin, with silvery scales. These plaques are most commonly found on the knees, scalp, lower back, and elbows. They are often painful, itchy and prone to cracking and bleeding.

Guttate Psoriasis – small red spots, often on the arms, legs, or the trunk. These spots might also appear on the face, ears, or the scalp. 

Pustular Psoriasis – skin becomes red, swollen, and covered with bumps filled with pus. They are often on the soles of the feet, fingertips, or palms. 

Inverse Psoriasis – patches of skin that are raw-looking and smooth, as well as being sore. They can appear under the armpits, buttocks, groin, genitals, or on the upper eyelids. 

Erythrodermic Psoriasis – a bright red rash covering the entire body. The skin looks like it’s been burned and is often extremely itchy and painful. 

Diagnosing psoriasis in children can be done relatively quickly by a medical practitioner. Once diagnosed, psoriasis treatment can begin.

Different Types of Psoriasis Treatment

There are many different treatments, and it’s simply a case of finding the right one that works for your child. Psoriasis treatment falls into one of three categories.

Treatment Applied Topically – topical treatments include various lotions, ointments, and creams. These treatments are applied directly to the skin. They can be used to treat several types of psoriasis, but they can be very messy. Examples of topical treatments include shampoos made with salicylic acid, coal tar, vitamin D creams, moisturisers, and corticosteroids on prescription.  

Phototherapy or Light Therapy – doctors often prescribe daily exposure to the sun, but there is a fine line as too much sunlight can exacerbate psoriasis. As well as using natural light for treating psoriasis, doctors can also prescribe artificial UV light therapy. Laser therapy and a combination of UV light, topical treatments, and medication might also be considered. 

Injected or Oral Medication – severe psoriasis is often treated with medication such as pills, shots, and intravenous medicine. This is also an option if the psoriasis is resisting other treatments. However, there is a big downside to this type of treatment. They can have severe side effects and are usually only prescribed for short periods. 

Finding the right treatment can be a challenge, and you might find your doctor tries several different therapies or combines a few of them together. There are also some things you and your child can do at home to relieve the symptoms.

  • Eat healthy foods 
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep skin clean and moisturised
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Provide emotional support 

Psoriasis is a skin condition that responds well to treatment. However, the treatment has to be properly managed.

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