Psoriasis can be an emotionally difficult condition for anyone to deal with, but especially for kids. Psoriasis causes itchy, inflamed, scaly patches (also called plaques), which are often on very visible areas of the body. Kids whose peers don’t understand psoriasis may be faced with bullying or isolation by kids who think the condition is contagious. If you’re a parent who’s watching your child struggle with this or you’re concerned that it may arise in the future, the tips below can help.
As with any medical conditions, you need to know what you’re facing in order to treat it effectively. Psoriasis is often confused for other conditions, and there are also different types and severity levels to diagnose. When you start seeing possible symptoms of psoriasis (or if there are any unknown changes in your child’s skin), schedule a dermatology appointment so you can find the issue and get treatment.
Tip #2: Educate your child and help to educate his/her peers.
One of the most common and unfortunate problems for kids with psoriasis is that other kids think their condition is contagious, so they don’t interact with them as much. As a parent, teach your child about psoriasis and be sure to explain that it isn’t contagious. Tell them that they might have to explain this to their peers, and tell them that their symptoms may increase and decrease often.
Tip #3: Seek treatment right away.
If you think your child has psoriasis (or if he/she has already been diagnosed), be prompt when you’re seeking treatment options. The sooner your child finds a psoriasis treatment option that works, the sooner he/she can start enjoying some relief.
Tip #7: Don’t give your child your psoriasis medications (or anyone else’s).
Psoriasis tends to run in families, so if a child has the condition, it’s common for one or both parents to have it as well. However, never give your child your own psoriasis medications. Different types and severities of psoriasis are treated differently, and the condition is also treated differently in kids than it is in adults.
Tip #8: Work with your child to identify triggers.
Psoriasis symptoms can get worse when the skin comes into contact with certain substances or when your child does certain activities. Stress can even make psoriasis symptoms worse. Each person’s triggers are unique, so work with your child to try to identify his/her triggers, which can help to keep symptoms to a minimum.
Tip #4: Avoid over-emphasizing or under-emphasizing the condition.
Kids with psoriasis often feel different from their peers, and it doesn’t help if a parent brings their condition into every conversation. But it also isn’t helpful to ignore the psoriasis and pretend it doesn’t exist. Build a healthy dialog with your child and make sure he/she knows that you are available to listen when they need you.
Tip #5: Explain the condition to your child’s teachers.
Psoriasis plaques can be itchy, which may distract some kids and affect their performance in school. Before each school year (or whenever your child starts working with a new teacher), explain to the teacher that your child has psoriasis and explain some of the symptoms. Make sure the teacher knows that psoriasis isn’t contagious.
Tip #6: Involve your child in his/her skin care.
When kids are involved in treating their condition, they often feel like they have more control over it. Let your child help you plan treatment appointments or discuss treatment options with them. Depending on how old and mature your child is, you can also make him/her responsible for applying topical medications as prescribed.
Tip #9: Know the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.
Psoriatic arthritis affects the joints in people with psoriasis, and it can happen in kids as well as adults. As a parent, keep an eye out for symptoms like stiffness and swelling in your child’s joints and schedule an appointment if they appear.
Tip #10: Help lower your child’s risk for related illnesses.
Unfortunately, people with psoriasis also have a higher risk for several other conditions like heart disease and diabetes. These can be serious at any stage of life, so as a parent, promote an active lifestyle and a healthy diet to lower your child’s risk factors.
Whether or not you’ve experienced psoriasis yourself, watching your child deal with psoriasis can be heartbreaking for any parent. But there’s always hope, and psoriasis patients and their parents have many resources available to deal with the physical symptoms as well as the emotional effects. If you believe you or your child may have psoriasis, or if your child has already been diagnosed with psoriasis and you want to explore more effective treatments, schedule an appointment at our dedicated Psoriasis Treatment Center with one of our dermatology providers. For more skin care tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well.