Mom and Dad, I have questions!

Your child may have questions related to their condition. Be prepared to help them with honest, clear answers. Here are some straightforward answers to questions kids might ask.

What is psoriasis?
Psoriasis (sore-eye-a-sis) makes your skin red, dry and crusty, especially around your elbows, knees and scalp. You might also find it on your upper buttocks, your palms, the soles of your feet and your genitals.

How do I know if I have psoriasis?
If your skin is scalier than usual, especially on your elbows and knees, it may be psoriasis. That's when you should talk to your parents and ask about going to a doctor and a dermatologist for advice and treatment.

Why do I have psoriasis?
Psoriasis tends to run in families, just like you may have blue eyes and red hair like your Mom or Dad. In other words, psoriasis is just another part of you. It is not contagious! You can't "catch" psoriasis from a person who has it, as you would from people who have a cold or flu.

Why is my skin different?
Skin with psoriasis tends to "grow" faster than skin not affected by psoriasis. The cells pile up on top of each other, making silvery white scales that are called "plaques." The pile of cells makes the skin under it inflamed, red and itchy.

Just because your skin is different doesn't mean you can't do all the things other kids do: you can enjoy school, sports, music, activities with friends, birthday parties, and all sorts of other fun activities!

Can I make it go away?
Psoriasis may go away with careful skin care and different types of treatments, or sometimes on its own. But there isn't a cure. This means that you may need to keep using your treatments and will always have to take proper care of your skin. It might seem annoying to worry about skin care and visit the doctor, but it will help your psoriasis to look better, and even go away. It may take time and it certainly it takes patience and practice. Some kids with psoriasis may develop new plaques each month or years later. It's just like kids that get frequent colds may develop another one any time in the future.

If you have a mild or average case of psoriasis, the doctor or dermatologist may prescribe a cream or lotion that will help. If your skin is very dry and scaly, your doctor may prescribe other medications.

Is there a cure for psoriasis?
If by "cure" we mean to make the symptoms disappear, then psoriasis is often curable.

What makes psoriasis worse?
Some kids find that their psoriasis gets worse when they are mad or upset, but other kids say stress doesn't affect their symptoms. You may want to watch your psoriasis for several weeks after you've been angry to see if it gets worse. Everyone gets mad or upset once in a while and that's a normal part of being a kid.

Other things like changes in the weather, injuries, illnesses and starting or stopping any medications can cause psoriasis to flare up. It is difficult to find out exactly what makes psoriasis get worse. Try to keep an eye on your psoriasis and see if you can pinpoint any patterns of things that make it better or worse.

Some people have noticed their psoriasis improves when they start or stop eating a certain kind of food. In general, it's best to eat healthy food and to avoid junk food - your body is growing and needs lots of different nutrients.

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