How to Deal with Psoriasis in Children

How to deal with psoriasis in children Psoriasis in children is an incredibly common skin condition. While it can occur in adults, it often starts in childhood. In fact, about 40% of those suffering from psoriasis will have their symptoms start to occur before they hit the age of 16. Around 10% will see them occur before the age of ten. In many cases, the symptoms stop when they reach adulthood.

Psoriasis is a lifelong condition. Sadly, there is currently no cure for it. You will always be at the risk of a flare-up. Yes, there are people who have noticed that their psoriasis does not return. However, this is unlikely going to be down to the fact that they have ‘cured’ their condition. They have more managed it to the point where they can keep it at bay. This most often occurs with mild to moderate forms of psoriasis. If they stopped their management techniques, then there is a chance that their symptoms will return.

It is probably worth pointing out at this stage that psoriasis is not contagious. Obviously, other children are not always going to be the most receptive in the world to somebody that is going to be covered in rashes, even the school that the child attends may not understand the condition fully despite it being exceedingly common. This is something that a parent will need to discuss with the school when the child is dealing with a flare-up.

Risk Factors

There are several ‘risk factors’ for psoriasis in children. This can include:

  • Being overweight
  • Certain medications. Children who take lithium, beta-blockers or malaria drugs tend to be most likely to suffer from the symptoms.
  • Injuries to the skin
  • Stress
  • Cold weather

Many children will start to develop their symptoms shortly after a strep throat infection.

Types of Psoriasis that can occur in children

There are either five or seven types of psoriasis dependent on how you wish to look at it. There are two which are far more likely to occur in children. While there are very few differences between suffering from psoriasis in adults and psoriasis in children, children do tend to have the condition develop on their face and their joints. Adults do not so much.

Plaque Psoriasis

This is the most common form of psoriasis for both adults and children.

If your child suffers from this condition, then they will have red, dry patches appear on their skin. These patches will often be covered with silvery scales. These patches are known as ‘plaques’.

In most cases, the symptoms are going to occur around the following places:

  • Knees
  • Elbows
  • Lower back
  • Scalp

While rare, there is a chance that the patches can bleed, particularly if your child scratches them. These patches may appear inflamed and they may provide a significant amount of discomfort if not treated quickly enough.

In children, these patches are not going to be quite as big as if they had occurred on an adult. They tend to be smaller and thinner. There will be fewer scales on them too. Most people will notice that the symptoms tend to get worse as the child gets older. Although, as we mentioned before, there is also a chance that the symptoms could end up clearing up.

It is worth noting that plaque psoriasis can appear in children under the age of two. However, if you spot red rash on your child, then it is most likely going to be regular diaper rash. You can try standard diaper rash treatments on it first. If you do not notice any improvement in the symptoms, then you can opt to go to your doctor for further treatment.

Guttate Psoriasis

This is less common. This is the type of psoriasis which is likely to be triggered by a strep throat infection. There will be no scales if the person is suffering from this condition. Instead, there will be small red dots that appear on their body. This tends to occur in the following locations:

  • Trunk
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Back

In many cases, guttate psoriasis will start to change to plaque psoriasis over time.

When to visit your doctor

If your child is suffering from any sort of medical condition beyond a mild sickness, then it is likely that you will want to go to your doctor as soon as you can. While psoriasis can’t be cured, it can be managed to the point where it is kept at bay. However, the longer you leave this treatment, the more likely the symptoms are to progress and cause the child even more discomfort.

It is likely that your doctor will be able to tell whether the child is suffering from psoriasis or not just by looking at the skin. They may also ask about your overall family medical history as a person is more likely to suffer from psoriasis if they have close family members who also suffer from the condition.

In some cases, your doctor may wish to carry out further tests. If this is the case, then they may remove a small sample of your child’s skin (this is going to be painless, we promise) and then send that to a lab.

Psoriasis in Children Treatment Options

One thing your doctor will suggest that you do is to work out what your child’s triggers are. These are certain events which may cause the symptoms to flare-up e.g. it may occur if your child is in a dry environment, if they eat certain foods or they come into contact with certain chemicals. Once these triggers have been established, managing the condition will become a lot easier. In fact, in many cases, just by identifying the triggers you can keep the symptoms at bay for long periods of time.

Your doctor may also prescribe you with topical medications that you can use. What they prescribe you will be dependent on the severity and the type of psoriasis that your child appears to be suffering from. They will likely start with a mild treatment and work their way up from there if it does not appear to be working.

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