A Psoriasis-Friendly Workday: Setting Yourself Up for Success at Work With Psoriasis

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Psoriasis brings challenges in the workplace. There is the physical challenge — keeping yourself comfortable and pain-free. There is the emotional challenge — dealing with workplace stress and other people’s reactions to your psoriasis. There is the financial challenge — needing time off for medical appointments or to care for yourself during a flare. Here are some tips for making your work experience more psoriasis-friendly.


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Consider your needs

Think about what could make your day more productive. Make a list of how your psoriasis symptoms make it more difficult to do your job. Are there accommodations that might make it easier and more comfortable for you? For example, flexible hours might give you time to go to the doctor without missing work. Having a private area to apply topical medications may be necessary. Using voice recognition software if you have psoriasis on your hands or psoriatic arthritis might improve your productivity, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation.


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Decide who you share information with about your diagnosis

Sharing your diagnosis and some of the challenges you face with your boss and coworkers can ease the stress of living with the stigma of psoriasis. But that doesn’t mean you have to share information with everyone. Choose who you want to discuss it with and what information you feel comfortable sharing.


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Setting priorities

You might find it helpful to get the most important things done early in the day. Psoriasis, especially during a flare, can cause fatigue, according to the Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Alliance. Getting things done early will help you feel like you are a productive member of the team at work.


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Arrange your work area according to your needs

Many people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis and joint pain. If you do, arrange your work area to limit the amount of lifting, reaching, carrying, holding or walking. Vary activities to avoid sitting in one position too long. For example, get up and walk around periodically per a recommendation by the National Psoriasis Foundation.


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Keep healthy routines

It’s important to keep healthy routines, even during the work day. Try to eat breakfast and lunch at the same time each day. Bring a healthy lunch and snack. Consider bringing foods that are known to help fight inflammation, suggests the National Psoriasis Foundation, such as cold-water fish, flaxseed, olive oil, kale, broccoli, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and colorful fruits and vegetables (strawberries, blueberries, carrots, mangoes, and figs).


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Keep anti-itch medications handy

Stash anti-itch medications (topical or oral) and moisturizer at your workplace so they are available when you need them. Applying them regularly during the day can help with redness, itching, scaling, and inflammation. If you have prescription medications, ask your doctor to double your prescription for one month so you can keep a spare at work rather than bringing it back and forth each day.


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Drink plenty of water

The main symptom of psoriasis is having patches of dry, scaly skin. Drinking water helps hydrate your skin from the inside. Dehydration can dry out your skin, triggering a psoriasis flare. Always have a bottle of water nearby for you to sip.


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Use NSAIDs to help calm inflammation

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, aspirin or prescription medication are commonly used as therapy for psoriasis and other skin conditions and can sometimes lower inflammation levels and make you more comfortable. Keep a bottle at your workplace, but talk to your doctor first as some people experience stomach upset from NSAIDs.


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Consider your triggers

Think about what triggers you encounter at work. Then, consider ways to avoid these triggers, such as wearing gloves when touching any chemicals or using stress-reducing strategies, such as deep breathing, five-minute meditations, or taking a walk to relieve stress.


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Use a cold pack

A cold pack can relieve itching, pain, and inflammation. If you have access to a workplace refrigerator, keep a cold pack there but be sure to keep it wrapped up and away from any food. If you don’t have access to a refrigerator, use a chilled lunchbox and bring a cold pack with you each day.


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Arthritis-friendly tools

If you have psoriatic arthritis, use arthritis-friendly tools, such as an electronic stapler, easy-grip scissors, or gel pens per a recommendation by the Arthritis Foundation.