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Pediatric psoriasis: triggers and treatment

photo of girl scratching an itch on white background | Johns Creek Dermatology

Pediatric psoriasis: triggers and treatment

Posted by Johns Creek Dermatology in Skin Conditions 14 Nov 2017

Pediatric psoriasis is a skin disease that can affect young people. It causes dry, itchy patches on the skin, with mild and sometimes moderate symptoms. This disease is not contagious, though it can be associated with some serious physical conditions. Nearly 40% of those with pediatric psoriasis display symptoms before they turn 16 years old. Ten percent of children are diagnosed with it before the age of 10. At Johns Creek Dermatology, we treat both adults and children who are suffering from psoriasis in ways that are unique and specific to our patients’ symptoms and their health histories.

What Causes Pediatric Psoriasis To Develop?

Different factors may play into the causes associated with pediatric psoriasis.

One of the main causes, however, is heredity. About a third of those diagnosed with this disease have a living or dead relative who also was diagnosed with it. If a child’s mother or father has psoriasis, that child has a 15% chance of developing the condition. Should both parents have a history of the disease, the risk is increased to 75%. The risk of having the disease can skip generations, however, there is often a link in the family traced back to having some form of psoriasis.

What Can Trigger Pediatric Psoriasis?

Though a child can have this condition, they may only develop symptoms when triggered by certain illnesses. A bout of strep throat or other type of throat infection can trigger an onset of scaly, small patches all over the body, known as guttate psoriasis or drop-like psoriasis. These tiny red patches can be spread out over a large area of skin. Later in life as an adult, people who have experienced this type of pediatric psoriasis may also develop chronic plaque psoriasis. Infants with psoriasis may present with a bright red, teary rash around the diaper area of the skin. This is known as diaper psoriasis, and does not appear to be related to a risk of developing other types of the disease later on in life. Kids can also develop plaque psoriasis, silvery scales that appear on the knees, elbows, back, and scalp.

Some possible triggers for developing pediatric psoriasis include being obese, taking medications such as lithium, malaria-fighting drugs, or beta-blockers, cold weather, skin rashes, cuts, or sunburns, and heightened levels of stress. High states of anxiety, sometimes caused by parents who are overly concerned and nervous about the condition, can also trigger a flare-up of symptoms.

Treatment for Pediatric Psoriasis

Shereen Timani, M.D. at Johns Creek Dermatology will be able to properly diagnose and treat your child who has symptoms of pediatric psoriasis. Some treatments for this disease include prescribing an antihistamine to control the symptoms of itching. She may also suggest using a moisturizer of a specific type to keep the skin hydrated and to lock in moisture. If your child has thick plaques and is above six years old, salicylic acid may also be prescribed.

Some topical treatments for mild forms of psoriasis include corticosteroids, coal tar, anthralin for long-term treatment, or calcipotriene, a form of Vitamin D.
Light therapy also shows promising treatment when plaques are present over a large area of the body. UV and laser light, in addition to topical treatments, are used.

Oral medications or drugs given by injection may be used only if the psoriasis is quite severe.

The office of Shereen Timani, M.D. is located in Johns Creek and serves South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties and the surrounding North Atlanta area. Our patients live in nearby Alpharetta, Suwanee, Roswell, Duluth, Dawsonville, and Cumming, GA.

This article is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice. Please contact us at Johns Creek Dermatology or make an appointment.

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