Understanding Psoriasis: Symptoms, Treatments and More


Children’s psoriasis symptoms

There are many types of psoriasis. Each type has its own symptoms. These are the most common signs of psoriasis:

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These raised skin patches are frequently reddish and covered in whitish silver scales. They are often mistakenly thought to be diaper rash in infants.

Dry, cracked skin can cause bleeding

Itching, redness or burning sensations around and in the skin’s affected areas

  • Red areas on the skin folds
  • various nail changes, including:
  • Thin, pitted fingernails
  • Deep ridges in nails
  • Nails may yellow and become thicker.
  • Detachment from the nail’s bed

Psoriasis is most common in children who have the condition. It tends to appear first on the scalp. Psoriasis can also affect the nails.

Psoriasis can be a long-term condition that will likely never disappear completely. Psoriasis can also be characterized by periods of decreased and increased activity.

Active times will cause more symptoms in your child. The symptoms can improve over time, or disappear completely.

Flare-ups are common after illness. It’s difficult to predict how severe symptoms will become once a cycle has begun.

Types of psoriasis that affect children

Plaque psoriasis, which is both common in children and adults, is the most common form of psoriasis. A 2015 literature review found that plaque psoriasis is a common condition in older children.

Plaque psoriasis may appear anywhere on the body but is most commonly seen on the:

  • Knees
  • Scalp
  • Elbows
  • The torso

Guttate psoriasis is the second most common. According to a 2016 study, it affects anywhere between 14 and 30 percent of children suffering from psoriasis. Guttate psoriasis is characterized by small, reddish spots that look more like water drops than larger lesions. These spots are usually found on the arms, legs and torso. Children can also be affected by pustular psoriasis, although it is rare among this age group.

Psoriasis triggers

Although no one can pinpoint the exact cause of psoriasis exactly, there are several factors that could make it more common. These triggers include:

  • Infection
  • skin irritation
  • stress
  • obesity
  • Cold weather

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Certain medications, like lithium, may be restricted.

These triggers can be avoided or managed to reduce the severity and frequency of psoriasis flare-ups.

Psoriasis is a common condition in children

Children are very susceptible to psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation, (NPF) estimates that 20,000 children younger than 10 years old are diagnosed with the disease each year in the United States.

The majority of people who experience psoriasis episodes begin between the ages of 15 and 35. However, it can also develop in younger children and adults. NPF estimates that around one third of people with psoriasis started when they were younger than 20.

Some children may experience psoriasis symptoms that become less severe or more frequent with age. Some people may have to live with it their entire lives.

Diagnosing psoriasis among children

A person’s skin is usually the best way to tell if they have psoriasis. A healthcare professional may ask the following questions during a physical exam:

Which symptoms is your child experiencing?

If they are experiencing joint pain, this could be indicative of juvenile psoriatic.

What medications are your child taking?

If there is a history of psoriasis in the family

How likely is it that your child has been exposed the most common triggers of psoriasis

Although diagnostic tests are not necessary in most cases, it is possible to perform a biopsy. The biopsy results can be used by a healthcare professional to distinguish between psoriasis from similar-looking conditions like eczema.

Children with psoriasis Treatment

There is currently no cure for psoriasis. The goal of treatment is to reduce symptoms and flare-ups.

Topical treatments

More often than any other type of treatment, topical treatments are prescribed. These treatments can reduce the symptoms of mild-to-moderate psoriasis and include moisturizing and medicated treatment.

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  • Ointments
  • Lotions
  • Creams
  • Solutions
  • Foams

The FDA has approved topical treatments for children as young 12 years of age. These include corticosteroids and vitamin D analogs like calcipotriene.

The application of topical treatments can get messy and may be required more often than once per day. These treatments can be very effective and have fewer side effects that other treatments.

You can help your child remember to use the treatment by scheduling electronic reminders and/or scheduling them around certain activities such as before bed or after getting up.

Light therapy

Psoriasis can be treated with both artificial light and natural sunlight. Lasers and medication activated by special light are two of the newer options. It is important to consult your doctor before you start light therapy. Exposed to too much light can make symptoms worse.

Your child can get more natural sunlight if their doctor suggests it. Take a walk with your family, or play in the yard after school.

Oral and injected medications

Your child’s doctor might prescribe injections, pills, or intravenous medication (IV) for moderate to severe cases.

Side effects can be severe with some medications. It is important to know what you might face before starting treatment. This type of treatment can cause serious side effects so it may be best to wait until your child is older, or limit its use for a short time. The FDA approved injected drugs for children as young at 4 years of age.

  • etanercept, Enbrel
  • ixekizumab (Taltz)
  • ustekinumab (Stelara)
  • Lifestyle changes

Your child’s best defense against psoriasis is to manage triggers. They can keep their bodies healthy by exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

These are some anti-inflammatory foods that you can include in your diet

  • Tuna and sardines are good choices for fatty fish
  • Almonds are a good example of nuts.
  • Green leafy vegetables like spinach are good choices.
  • Fruits such as oranges, cherries, strawberries and others
  • Avoiding or minimizing intake of these foods can cause inflammation.
  • Processed foods, even those with a lot of added sugar,
  • Red meats and full-fat dairy products are high in saturated fat.

Healthy bodies may experience fewer and more severe disease activity. Skin irritation can be reduced by keeping your child’s skin moisturized and clean.

Start a family competition to encourage healthy habits in your child and your family. You can keep track of who does the most steps per day or track how much weight you lose over time.

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Treatment plans

One of these treatments may be tried by your child’s doctor, or combined. Do not despair if the first treatment fails. Your child’s doctor, you, and your child can collaborate to find medication or treatment combinations that ease your child’s symptoms.