Recognizing your triggers and making changes
If you either know or suspect that something in particular is triggering your psoriasis, then you should discuss this with your physician. It may be that making certain changes can help you to avoid a flare-up of psoriasis or help you to keep the symptoms mild.
It is common for certain things to aggravate psoriasis (weather conditions, foods, drinks, activities). Once you are aware of your trigger you may then have an element of control in reducing it.
What can I do/What should I consider
- Stress is known to cause flare-ups of psoriasis.
- Ensure that you take time for yourself to relax, discuss issues that may be causing you high levels of stress with those involved and try to make a change to reduce your stress levels.
Viral and bacterial infection
- It is not always possible to avoid infection, but where possible you should avoid contact with people who are infected with strep throat. You can also take small measures such as getting enough rest and avoiding stress so that your body’s natural defenses are strong.
Skin injury and skin care
- Injuries to the skin caused by sharp or blunt objects, by surgery or by repeated minor injurious, as a result of itching or rubbing. Injuries often occur by accident and therefore controlling this trigger is more problematic. However, it is advised that scratching and picking at healing injuries is avoided.
- Certain skincare products may irritate psoriasis. If irritation occurs, you should stop using the product. Unscented products are recommended and some medicated products are available. As one of the largest organs in the body with numerous functions it is important to maintain healthy skin. Everyone, but especially a psoriasis patient, can benefit greatly from taking care of their skin.
Alcohol, smoking and obesity (lifestyle factors)
Lifestyle factors incorporate things such as smoking, being overweight and alcohol consumption. All three have been linked with flare-ups of psoriasis.
It is advised that you make changes to your lifestyle in order to stop smoking, improve diet to control your weight and reduce alcohol intake (or stop all together).
Adopting a healthy lifestyle (exercise, balanced diet, stopping smoking/drinking alcohol) can reduce the risk factors for psoriasis and a number of other serious health issues.
- Some medications can cause a flare-up of psoriasis.
- Discuss your symptoms with your doctor if you feel your medication may be contributing to them. There may be alternatives available.
*Note, the above is a list of common factors but it is not exclusive. If you feel that something not listed is contributing to your psoriasis, you should discuss this with your physician.
Can I do anything to minimize the risk of my children developing psoriasis?
As a condition with a hereditary element, there is nothing that can prevent the gene being passed on to your child. However, some research suggests that guiding your child into a healthy lifestyle which incorporates healthy eating, exercise and avoiding other triggering factors can reduce the likelihood that psoriasis will trigger.