Triggers are factors known to cause psoriasis symptoms. In some cases, they can lead to developing the disease. Not sure what yours are? Visit a dermatologist to review likely possibilities and bring this helpful Doctor Discussion Guide.
Infection. If you catch a respiratory bacteria or virus, such as strep throat, you may be more likely to suffer a psoriasis flare-up. Symptoms may appear a few days after an infection strikes, including an earache, bronchitis, and tonsillitis.
Prevention pointer: Practice effective hand hygiene – wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds regularly or use hand sanitizers. It can reduce your chances of becoming sick. Visit your doctor if you think you may have strep throat or if your infection worsens.
Skin injury. Any type of break in the skin can lead to a new psoriasis lesion, including a razor nick or burn, insect bite, cut, abrasion, sunburn, blister, or bruise.
Prevention pointer: Take care during the course of the day's activities to avoid puncturing the skin. If spending time outdoors, protect your skin from sunburn with sunscreen and/or bug spray.
Alcohol and smoking. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are two established psoriasis triggers. These activities can also reduce the effectiveness of your psoriasis treatment and may instead interact with your psoriasis medications.
Prevention pointer: Talk to your doctor or pharmacist for options on how to quit these activities.
Medications. Certain types of medications can predispose you to a psoriasis flare-up. Stopping your psoriasis treatment abruptly can also worsen psoriasis symptoms.
Prevention pointer: Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about the treatment option that can give you the most satisfactory outcome. It may involve single drugs or multiple drug combination treatments. Also, make sure you follow through with your prescribed psoriasis treatment plan.
Stress. While less well understood, stress is believed to be a trigger for psoriasis. A stressful event can trigger a flare-up of psoriasis, and stress in general can aggravate symptoms. And psoriasis itself can cause stress.
Prevention pointers Staying active and maintaining a healthy sleep routine may reduce stress. Try taking up a new activity with calming potential, such as yoga.
Weather. Winter, with its dry, cool air, dries and irritates the skin of psoriasis sufferers. Sun actually helps psoriatic plaques to fade – but a sunburn can trigger a flare-up.
Prevention pointer: In the winter, moisturize regularly and try a home humidifier to alleviate psoriasis symptoms. In summer, test whether sunlight will have a healing effect on your psoriasis by giving yourself just a little exposure (before noon, or after 4 pm) – always using sunscreen.
If you need added motivation, remember: You can help boost your treatment's effectiveness when you avoid known triggers.
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