Psoriasis in Children
What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an inherited, chronic condition of the skin which is triggered by environmental factors. It is a skin disorder in which the layers of the skin multiply a lot more rapidly than normal. It isn’t contagious and can begin at any age.
The body’s immune system, makes the body multiple skin cells a lot faster than it can remove them. This causes thickening of the skin to form silvery scales called plaques. These areas of skin can be red or appear whitish, and will be dry, itchy and scaly. These areas of skin are localized and the more commonly involved sites in children are the scalp, knees, elbows and genital creases. The dry skin may crack and bleed, especially if scratched by agitated children. Other symptoms of the condition include joint pain and thick nails with small pits on the surface.
Since this a chronic condition, it is likely to remain life long, however its symptoms might vary in intensity; there could be periods of time where all symptoms disappear altogether, or times where the symptoms flare up and are a lot worse than usual. These “outbreaks” can be set off by several factors including:
- Medications (Like lithium or beta blockers)
You can read more about psoriasis here: https://itsitchy.com/10-facts-about-psoriasis/
Types of psoriasis
There are different classifications of this disorder, which can be differentiated on the basis of its appearance or location on the body.
- Plaque Psoriasis:or Psoriasis Vulgaris is the most common variation diagnosed and plagues 85-90% of the total patients of psoriasis. Presence of plaques are observed in the most commonly affected sites which include the knees, elbows, scalp and back.
- Guttate Psoriasis:is characterized by numerous small, red bumps which resemble the appearance of droplets. Usually caused by a bacterial streptococcal infection.
- Inverse Psoriasis:or flexural psoriasis causes smooth, inflamed patches of skin in folds like armpits and under female breasts.
- Pustular Psoriasis:appears as raised lesions which are filled with sterile pus.
- Erythrodermic Psoriasis:extremely rare andsevere inflammation over a large area leading to skin shedding in sheets.
- Palmoplantar Non-pustular Psoriasis:Typically affects the only the palms and soles.
- Others:Special sites include nail psoriasis.
Psoriasis is usually a clinical diagnosis made by a dermatologist after evaluating the skin lesions.
Rarely, the patches can resemble the manifestation of other skin disorders, and so the physician might suggest a skin biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Fortunately, there are several different treatment options for psoriasis.
- Topical agents: Corticosteroid ointments and emollients have been proved to be very effective in clearing psoriatic plaques.
- Phototherapy: Psoralen and ultraviolet A phototherapy(PUVA)with special lamps have been used for this purpose.
- Systemic medications: Patients who do not profit from other treatments may be prescribed oral or injected medications like methotrexate or cyclosporins.
Counseling: Children who have been diagnosed with psoriasis should be informed, counseled and adequately reassured so that the physical discomfort caused by the condition and the morphological change of their skin doesn’t cause low self esteem or induce anxiety.