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Health Information For Parents
Psoriasis is a chronic (long-lasting) skin condition. People with psoriasis have a skin rash and, sometimes, joint problems or nail changes.
There’s no cure for psoriasis, but treatment can help most people who have it control its symptoms.
The main symptom of psoriasis (seh-RYE-eh-siss) is red, thickened patches of skin called plaques. These can burn, itch, or feel sore. Often, silvery scales cover the plaques.
Plaques can happen anywhere. In children, they’re most common on the:
Other symptoms of psoriasis include:
In children, common types of psoriasis include:
Plaque psoriasis. This is the most common type of psoriasis. It causes plaques and silvery scales, usually on the knees, elbows, lower back, and scalp. They can be itchy and painful and may crack and bleed.
Guttate (GUT-ate) psoriasis. This type often shows up after an illness, especially strep throat. It causes small red spots, usually on the trunk, arms, and legs. Spots also can appear on the face, scalp, and ears.
Inverse psoriasis. This causes smooth, raw-looking patches of red skin that feel sore. The patches develop in places where skin touches skin, such as the armpits, buttocks, upper eyelids, groin and genitals, or under a woman’s breasts.
The exact cause of psoriasis isn’t known. But experts do know that the body’s immune system, which fights germs and diseases, is involved. Overactive immune system cells make skin cells grow faster than the body can shed them, so they pile up as plaques on the skin.
Some genes have been linked to psoriasis. About 40% of people with psoriasis have a family member who has it.
Anyone can get psoriasis and it may begin at any age. It can’t spread from person to person.
Symptoms of psoriasis can go away completely, then suddenly come back. When the symptoms are worse, it’s called an “outbreak” or “flare-up.” Symptoms of psoriasis can be brought on or made worse by:
Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by examining the skin, scalp, and nails. They’ll also ask whether someone else in the family has psoriasis and if the child recently had an illness or started taking a new medicine.
Rarely, doctors might take a skin sample (a biopsy) to check more closely. A biopsy can tell the doctor whether it’s psoriasis or another condition with similar symptoms.
Psoriasis is usually treated by a dermatologist (skin doctor). A rheumatologist (a doctor who treats immune problems) may also help with treatment. Treatments can include:
A doctor might try one therapy and then switch to another, or recommend combining treatments. It’s not always easy to find a therapy that works, and sometimes what works for a time stops helping after a while.
For some children, psoriasis is just a minor inconvenience. For others, it is a difficult medical condition.
To manage symptoms and make outbreaks less likely, your child should:
Kids and teens with psoriasis may feel uncomfortable with the way their skin looks. Help your child understand that psoriasis is common and treatments can help.
Whether your child’s psoriasis is mild or severe, learn about the condition together. Offer to help find a therapist or join a support group if that might help. Talk to your doctor or check websites like:
Being a kid doesn’t always mean being carefree – even the youngest tots worry. Find out what stresses kids out and how to help them cope.
Psoriasis causes skin cells to build up on the surface of the skin where they form itchy, red areas and thick scales. Find out how to deal with psoriasis, and what causes it, in this article for teens.
Eczema can be an itchy nuisance and cause scratching that makes the problem worse. Many kids who have eczema today will be over it by the time they’re teens.
Does your teen have trouble falling asleep at night? Is he or she sleepy during the day? Find out if it’s just a normal part of adolescence, or if something else is to blame.
Our skin protects the network of tissues, muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels, and everything else inside our bodies. Hair and nails are actually modified types of skin.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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