We have been talking about psoriasis here lately on My Skin Care Connection as it is a chronic skin condition affecting as many as 7.5 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide (source: National Psoriasis Foundation). In a previous post I had the honor of interviewing Doctor Lawrence Green, practicing dermatologist and Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at George Washington University School of Medicine, about the psychological impact of psoriasis upon women. Today, in honor of World Psoriasis Day, we are going to discuss how psoriasis affects another population, children.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease where the process of replacing skin cells is speeded up and the skin cells reproduce too quickly. As a result, the skin cells accumulate to form lesions or plaques. These lesions look like raised red patches of skin topped with silvery scales. Psoriasis can be both physically and psychologically difficult to deal with due to the discomfort and pain as well as the chronic nature of the disease. This skin condition is usually associated with adults but children and teens can have psoriasis too.
The National Psoriasis Foundation provides these statistics about pediatric psoriasis:
• Up to one third of those who get psoriasis are less than twenty years of age when this skin disease first manifests.
• Approximately 20,000 children under the age of ten will be diagnosed with psoriasis each year.
The Psoriasis Association of the UK gives the following reasons why a child may develop Psoriasis:
• Psoriasis has a genetic component. Up to 30% of people having psoriasis have a family history of this skin disease.
• Certain triggers may induce psoriasis to develop including: An injury to the skin such as a scratch or insect bite, streptococcal sore throat, stress or emotional upset and the developmental process of going through puberty.
Psoriasis can be particularly difficult for children as they can be very sensitive to anything which sets them apart from other children. They may deal with teasing or even bullying due to the appearance of their skin. Children who suffer from psoriasis may be reluctant to participate in gym class or activities such as swimming because of the potential to expose their skin. It is very important that the child or teen with psoriasis be given the emotional support they will need to cope with their condition as well as information about how to treat their skin during an outbreak.
There are some wonderful resources for both children and their parents to help cope with childhood psoriasis. Here are some links to sites and organizations to help:
• The National Psoriasis Foundation offers guidance to parents who want to help their children deal with the emotions associated with having psoriasis.
• The National Psoriasis Foundation also has a special web page specifically created for children called PSOMe where your child can learn more about how to manage their condition and meet other kids who have psoriasis.
• In addition, The National Psoriasis Foundation also has a special section for teens describing how to treat psoriasis and also how to live with this skin condition in the day to day.
• The American Academy of Dermatology offers support to parents with their guide called: Helping Your Child Cope with Psoriasis
• You may also find a Back to School Fact Sheet from the Psoriasis Cure Now organization, which offers printable information about your child’s skin condition for teachers, the school nurse, and physical education instructors.
For a comprehensive list of links to information about psoriasis please see our Psoriasis Resources guide.
If you are the parent of a child or teen who has been diagnosed with psoriasis, we would love to hear your story. How was your child diagnosed? How is your child coping with this skin condition? Are any treatments particularly more effective than others? Sharing your story may help someone else who is going through the same thing. Remember that we greatly value your input.
Published On: October 29, 2010