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If your child was recently diagnosed with psoriasis, you may be struggling to help him or her handle this persistent autoimmune disorder. Characterized by red, thickened patches of skin with silvery scales, psoriasis can make your child feel self-conscious. If you’re concerned about your child’s developing skin condition, the following tips can help.

Make sure it’s psoriasis.

It’s easy to mistake symptoms of psoriasis for other skin conditions, so make sure the diagnosis is accurate by visiting a licensed dermatologist for confirmation of your suspicions. Once you have a diagnosis, you can start exploring treatment options so your child can find some relief.

Don’t share psoriasis medications.

Psoriasis is genetic, so you may have the condition as well. However, don’t give your own psoriasis medication to your child because you may each have a different type or severity level. Plus, psoriasis is treated differently in kids than it is in adults.

Educate others.

Psoriasis may look like a contagious disease to your child’s uninformed peers. This can lead to bullying or isolation. Make sure your child knows this condition can’t spread from person to person, and that it may be necessary to explain this to classmates. Explain the nature and symptoms of psoriasis to your child’s teachers as well so they know a painful, itchy flare-up may distract your child and affect classroom performance.

Identify triggers.

Each person’s triggers are unique, so help your child recognize if touching a certain object or engaging in a particular activity causes a flare-up. Avoiding these triggers is an important part of controlling psoriasis symptoms.

Build a healthy dialogue.

Bringing up your child’s psoriasis in every conversation may cause feelings of self-consciousness, but ignoring the condition altogether isn’t helpful, either. Aim to strike a balance that makes your child feel comfortable and cared about.

Involve your child in the treatment plans.

Depending on the age of your child, it may be appropriate to involve him or her in the treatment process. Let your child help plan appointments, discuss treatment options and apply topical medication. Getting your child involved offers a degree of control, which can be very beneficial emotionally.

Watch for symptoms of psoriatic arthritis.

Both kids and adults can develop this side effect of psoriasis. Watch for joint stiffness and swelling, mobility issues, fever, and fatigue. Schedule a doctor appointment right away if these symptoms appear.

Keep your child healthy.

Having psoriasis increases your child’s chances of developing heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions. Fortunately, you can reduce the risk by promoting a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Get the whole family involved to improve everyone’s health!

If you believe your child might have psoriasis, or you’re looking for a better treatment option, schedule an appointment at Arlington Dermatology by calling (847) 725-0824. Our dermatologists will help you and your child manage the physical and emotional effects of this skin disorder.