General tips to manage and prevent flare-ups

In addition to taking your medications as recommended by your doctor, dermatologist, or pharmacist, there are several things you can do to help manage your psoriasis flare-ups.

  • Keep your skin moist and lubricated (see "Keeping your skin hydrated" in this feature). Moisturizing will help prevent dry skin and itching. By keeping your skin well-moisturized, you may also be less likely to scratch.
  • If you feel itchy, try not to scratch your skin, as this can lead to further psoriasis lesions. Psoriasis worsens in areas of skin injuries, so avoid picking at existing scales.
  • Prevent strep (streptococcal) throat infections. For children with psoriasis, an attack of symptoms may occur with strep throat. These flare-ups in children are usually of the "guttate" variety (round, small lesions). An adult with chronic psoriasis may also develop a flare-up after a strep throat infection. Practice good hand-washing techniques in the workplace and at home, if someone you work or live with has had a recent bacterial infection. Also, a healthy diet and lifestyle (see "Lifestyle modifications" in this feature) will help to keep the immune system strong and reduce the likelihood of bacterial infection.
  • Many safe, effective treatments, such as ointments and creams, can improve psoriasis and reduce recurrences of swelling, redness, flaking, and itching. Some can be used to reduce new flare-ups of lesions. Use prescription and over-the-counter psoriasis medications as directed by your doctor, dermatologist, or pharmacist. Because psoriasis is chronic and unpredictable, it can present a challenge to treat. Remain patient if, under the direction of your doctor, you have to try more than one skin care regimen.
  • In general, protect your skin by using mild skin cleansers, wearing cotton-blend clothing, removing laundry-soap residue from clothing by rinsing twice, and using sunscreens to avoid sunburn.

A final suggestion: Care for your skin and help relieve your psoriasis symptoms by setting aside some time each day for treatment.

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