Preventing and managing flare-ups in children

In addition to following the recommendations of your child's family doctor, dermatologist, pediatrician and pharmacist, you can help your child relieve psoriasis symptoms and prevent flare-ups with proper skin care. Here are some tips to help prevent flare-ups and reduce a child's symptoms:

  • Keep your child's skin moist and lubricated. Moisturizing will help prevent dry skin and itching. By keeping the skin well moisturized, your child may also be less likely to scratch (scratching can cause new patches of psoriasis to form). A child's skin should be moisturized immediately after a bath to help seal the water into the skin. Cold air humidifiers can help reduce room dryness (especially bedrooms), which helps relieve itching.
  • Apply creams and ointments slowly and gradually in the direction of hair growth. When choosing a new skin product for your child (such as a moisturizer), talk to your doctor, dermatologist, pediatrician or pharmacist first: some of these products may contain ingredients that could worsen symptoms.
  • Avoid using very hot water when bathing a child (or tell older children not to use very hot water while showering). Very hot water can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse.
  • Use mild soaps, shampoos and detergents, as these products will be least likely to irritate skin. Avoid adding bleach or fabric softener when doing laundry. Take extra care to ensure that all soapy residues are rinsed off the body with luke-warm water.
  • Use brushes with soft bristles. Wash a child's hair gently and pat dry with a soft towel, using brushes with soft bristles for combing. If possible, let hair dry naturally.
  • Try to help your child avoid scratching and picking at their skin and at any cuts or scrapes. It helps to keep your child's nails short and clean to prevent skin infections.
  • Help your child choose loose-fitting clothes (avoid wool, nylon or rough fabrics), shoes and hats, especially during the warmer seasons. Tightness can injure the skin and worsen psoriasis symptoms. Encourage your child to take time for fun, stress-relieving personal or social activities. Regular exercise can also help relieve stress.
  • Monitor your child's sun exposure: avoid sunburns and hot or humid conditions that can increase itching and skin irritations. Talk to your pharmacist about choosing a sunscreen that is best suited for your child.
  • Give the medications prescribed for your child to treat psoriasis as directed by the doctor and pharmacist. Depending on the severity of your child's psoriasis, medications used to treat this condition include medications that are applied to the skin and, in some cases, taken by mouth.

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