Psoriasis In Your Child - Signs, Causes & Cure
Created by Dr Shipra Mathur Updated on Apr 21, 2018
Psoriasis is a common inflammatory condition of the skin. It is a reaction of the immune system of the body. It is not caused by a virus or bacteria and hence not contagious.
What Causes Psoriasis?
Most of our skin cells grow and shed every 28 to 30 days. In psoriasis, the skin cells mature every three to four days instead. This causes a build up of cells in the form of raised red silvery areas on the skin. This is thought to be triggered by an overactive immune system. There's a genetic factor also and about a third of those with psoriasis have at least one family member with the condition. If one parent has psoriasis, there is a 10 per cent chance of the child getting it which rises to 50 % and more when both parents are affected. A child can develop psoriasis without a family history also.
How Common Is It In Children?
About 2-3 % of the adult population may suffer from psoriasis and in at least a third of them it would have started in childhood. The earlier psoriasis shows up, the more likely it is to recur and be widespread. It is uncommon in babies and toddlers but may present in older children aged 6- 14 years.
Also Read: 8 Ways To Deal With Dry Skin In Your Baby
What Are It’s Symptoms?
There are several types of psoriasis. Plaque psoriasis is the most common type. It causes raised, red lesion covered with a flaky, silvery-white scale called plaques. These are present most often appears on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back. The next common type is guttate psoriasis, which appears as small, dot-like lesions, usually on the trunk and limbs.
The skin affected is dry, cracked and may bleed. There may be itching/ soreness or a burning sensation in and around the affected areas of skin.
Thick, pitted fingernails or nails that develop deep ridges are also seen.
What Is The Course Of The Condition?
Psoriasis tends to be a chronic and cyclical condition with flare-ups. For some children, psoriasis symptoms may become less as they grow older. Others may continue to deal with the condition throughout their life.
What Can Worsen Or Trigger It?
There are some conditions that are known to cause a flare up. These include infections like chicken pox, skin injuries, scratching, stress, obesity and cold weather.
How Is It Treated?
There is no absolute cure for psoriasis. Treatment therefore focuses on easing symptoms and helping prevent or reduce the severity of flare-ups.
There are many different options for treating psoriasis, depending on the type of psoriasis, the location of the rash, and how severe it is. If it's mild, topical treatments may be enough to reduce symptoms. These include medicated and moisturising ointments, creams and lotions.
Severe psoriasis may need to be treated with light therapy or oral medication. Artificial light treatment involves exposing the skin to ultraviolet light from a source for a set length of time on a regular schedule.
How Can You Help At Home?
Exercising, getting adequate sleep, and eating a balanced diet will help keep your child’s body healthy. A healthy body may have fewer and less severe periods of disease activity. In addition, keeping your child’s skin clean and moisturized can help reduce skin irritation, which also reduces psoriasis flares.
Early detection and diagnosis of psoriasis are crucial for children. When severe or in sensitive areas such as face or around their genitals, children may understandably experience embarrassment. It is therefore important that parents and doctor work together with the child to treat it in a holistic manner.
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