The Link Between Weather And Psoriasis
A recent study examined the effect of weather conditions of people with psoriasis. It reported that most people with psoriasis who participated in the study had symptoms that improved in the summer and got worse during the winter, when humidity levels tend to be lower in the air is more dry3.
The study did not find that muggy or rainy weather conditions had an effect on psoriasis symptoms, nor did it find any effect due to the indoor environment . However, they did find that for some people with psoriasis, heat can worsen symptoms such as itching and redness.
The researchers conclude that some exposure tends to have a positive effect on symptoms for most patients. They also suggest that the reason dry winter air tends to make symptoms worse is that the low humidity causes the top layer of the skin to become thicker, which triggers the production of substances in the immune system that cause inflammation.
Bug Bites Bug Stings And Poisonous Plants
Any injury to your skin, including bug bites or stings, may trigger a flare in psoriasis symptoms. This is known as the Koebner phenomenon.
To help prevent bug bites and stings, follow these tips:
- Limit the time you spend outside at dusk and dawn when bugs tend to be most active.
- Avoid outdoor garbage cans and other areas where wasps congregate.
- Wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, socks, and shoes in buggy areas.
- Apply insect repellent.
- Burn citronella candles.
Oils from certain plants, such as poison oak and poison ivy, can also cause skin irritation, which may trigger psoriasis symptoms.
If youre walking in areas where poisonous plants might be growing, try to stay on well-cleared pathways. Wearing long pants and socks can also help protect your skin from poisonous plants, as well as bugs.
Sneaky Trigger: Getting Sick
Sometimes getting sick can be a double whammy: In addition to your actual illness, you could get a psoriasis outbreak, too. Anything that puts stress on the body can flare psoriasis, but infections in particular can exacerbate it, says Adam Friedman, M.D., professor and interim chair of dermatology at George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The same inflammation that jumps into high gear to fight the infection can worsen a psoriasis outbreak. Vitamin C, anyone?
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More Than Skin Troubles
A 2017 study from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that people with psoriasis that covers 10% of their body or more are 64% more likely than those without psoriasis to develop type 2 diabetes. “About 30% of people with psoriasis also might develop psoriatic arthritis, which causes destructive inflammation in your joints,” says dermatologist Dr. Gideon Smith. Psoriasis also may signal a higher risk for fatty liver disease and heart attacks.
How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed
Doctors usually diagnose psoriasis by examining the skin, scalp, and nails. They’ll also ask whether someone else in your family has psoriasis and if you recently had an illness or started taking a new medicine.
Rarely, doctors might take a skin sample to check more closely. A can tell the doctor whether it’s psoriasis or another condition with similar symptoms.
Why Does Psoriasis Itch More At Night
Having any skin problems can be very bothersome since typically it causes itch and leads to low self-esteem. When we get itch, we will scratch it and this is a normal reaction. But in people with psoriasis, the sensation of itching can go to truly excruciating stages where scratching is not the answer even it makes the skin itch even more. And one of the interesting facts, many psoriasis sufferers report that the problem itches more at night!
Symptoms of psoriasis
The way of how the problem appears and affects the skin can vary. While some find that it appears slowly, sometime it appears suddenly. It is a chronic skin condition. In other words, it can flare-up and then subside even sometime it may go away without treatment.
According to the National Institutes of Health, medically there are 5 main types of this chronic skin disorder:
There are several symptoms of the problem. In general it can cause skin irritation, red with itchy resulting the flaky patches of skin. It can affect any parts of the body, but many times it is found on middle areas of the body , knees, and elbows.
Why Do My Psoriasis Signs And Symptoms Get Worse In The Fall And Winter
Dry air and low levels of exposure to sunlightâs ultraviolet rays likely cause worsening psoriasis symptoms during fall and winter.
Not only are the winter days shorter, but most people tend to spend less time outside. And, when they do brave the elements, theyâre usually bundled up from head to toe. UVB rays are most prevalent at noontime in the spring and summer.
All of these things add up to much less ultraviolet light from the sun, which may ease psoriasis in spring and summer.
Experts believe that ultraviolet light hinders the rapid growth of skin cells that is characteristic of psoriasis. So you may find that your psoriasis is more likely to flare and your plaques worsen when you spend less time in the sun.
Also, the lack of humidity in the air outside and the dry heat in most buildings during the colder months can rob your skin of the moisture it needs. You may be able to alleviate dryness-related psoriasis symptoms by regularly moisturizing your skin and using a humidifier at home. If possible, humidify your office, too.
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Talk With Others Who Understand
MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and PsA and their loved ones. On MyPsoriasisTeam, more than 87,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with psoriasis and PsA.
Are you living with psoriatic arthritis that causes fatigue? Have you found ways to conserve your energy and manage daily activities? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.
Who Will Be Responsible For My Healthcare
Youre likely to see a team of healthcare professionals.
Your doctor, usually a rheumatologist, will be responsible for your overall care. And a specialist nurse may help monitor your condition and treatments. A skin specialist called a dermatologist may be responsible for the treatment of your psoriasis.
You may also see:
- a physiotherapist, who can advise on exercises to help maintain your mobility
- an occupational therapist, who can help you protect your joints, for example, by using splints for the wrist or knee braces. You may be advised to change the way you do some tasks to reduce the strain on your joints.
- a podiatrist, who can assess your footcare needs and offer advice on special insoles and good supportive footwear.
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When To Speak With A Doctor
It is advisable for people to contact a doctor if their psoriasis symptoms continue to flare up during dry, cold weather. If a person has been unable to control their psoriasis during the winter season and notices a worsening of the condition, a doctor can provide advice. In some cases, they may be able to prescribe stronger treatments.
Articles On Living & Coping With Psoriasis
Donât despair. You donât need to tough it out until spring, counting the days until you get some relief from psoriasis.
Here are answers to seven frequently asked questions about psoriasis in fall and winter.
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I Tend To Eat More And Drink More Alcohol In The Fall And Winter Months Will This Affect My Psoriasis
Alcohol and key foods probably will not trigger a psoriasis flare. Though medical researchers have yet to prove that certain foods cause psoriasis flares, many patients report that eating certain foods seems to worsen their psoriasis. This, though, may be a coincidence. If you notice a regular connection between eating certain foods and increased skin symptoms, ask your doctor whether you can safely eliminate the suspect foods from your diet to assess any changes in your psoriasis.
Alcohol binges are associated with worsening psoriasis. If you tend to smoke when you drink, you might be dealing yourself a double whammy. Evidence indicates that people who smoke tobacco products may be more likely to develop a form of psoriasis that causes pustules to develop on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Researchers have also found a correlation between smoking and more serious forms of psoriasis.
How Long Can I Expose My Skin To The Sun Before Burning
This depends on many factors, including:
The strength of the sunThis can be assessed by the UV index, announced in summertime weather reports. The UV index is a number representing the strength of the sun, and ranges from 1 to 11+. 1-2 represents low UV, 3-5 moderate UV, 6-7 high UV, 8-10 very high UV and 11+ extreme UV. In the UK the UV index rarely goes above 6 or 7.
Other factors also need to be taken into consideration. For the UK some very approximate guidance can be given on how long individuals can tolerate the sun before burning. Assuming moderate sun strength , and for previously unexposed and currently unprotected skin, then exposure times possible before onset of sunburn are approximately: phototype I, 5-10 minutes phototype II, 10-20 minutes phototype III, 20-30 minutes phototype IV, 40 minutes .
Your sun sensitivityThis is assessed by the Fitzpatrick phototyping scale, which describes how the skin reacts to sun exposure. It was developed in 1975 by Thomas B. Fitzpatrick, the American dermatologist, as a way to classify the typical response of different types of skin to sunlight. The Fitzpatrick scale remains a recognised tool for dermatological research into human skin pigmentation.
What increases the chances of burning?This also depends on many factors, including:
- Which areas of skin are exposed
Scalp, neck, face , upper back and shoulders are more sensitive to the sun than the lower legs.
- How much exposure you have already had
For example, a sunscreen.
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Will Psoriasis Cause My Child To Be Emotional
Many children if young will accept their skin problems as a matter of course, whilst others, depending on their age of onset may take their conditions differently and feel embarrassed, upset, angry, stressed or even depressed. They may feel anxious about recurring flare-ups once theyve experienced good periods of remission, and become pre-occupied and distracted from normal daily activities. As they grow up, possibly pre-occupied with their body, body image and peer pressure, their psoriasis may become more of an issue for them. Love, support, encouragement and trust in their medical team too will help overcome such stressful periods in their lives. Parents should always be understanding and aware of such issues especially if their child has psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis.
One of the best things a parent can do for their child from an early age, or when they first get psoriasis is educate their children about the condition, answer any questions or worries they have as they arise, reassure them on a regular basis, take an interest in how they feel, monitor their psoriasis in a discreet way so not to make a big issue of it. Reassure them that there is much research going on to find a cure and easier, more effective treatments to use with better, longer outcomes of remission. It is not a contagious condition and that their friends, boyfriends and girlfriends will not catch it. Encourage them to talk openly about their condition and not to hide it.
What Increases Your Risk
Many doctors believe that psoriasis may be passed down from parents to their children . This is because certain genes are found in families who are affected by psoriasis.footnote 2 About one-third of people who have psoriasis have one or more family members with the condition.footnote 3
Other factors that can contribute to the development of psoriasis include:
- Emotional or physical stress. Stress may cause psoriasis to appear suddenly or make symptoms worse .
- Infection. Infections such as strep throat can cause psoriasis to appear suddenly, especially in children.
- Skin injuries. An injury to the skin can cause psoriasis patches to form anywhere on the body, including the site of the injury. This includes injuries to your nails or nearby skin while trimming your nails.
- Smoking. Smoking may make you more likely to get psoriasis and make the symptoms more severe.footnote 4
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Psoriasis
The signs and symptoms usually depend on the type of psoriasis you have.
- Plaque type: This is the most common and mildest type of psoriasis. Plaques are reddened patches covered with silver-colored scales. Your knees, elbows, scalp, stomach, and back are usually affected. You may also have nail changes, such as pitting, thickening, or lifting of the nails off the nail bed.
- Guttate type: This type is the most common among children and young adults. It usually happens after a sore throat or other infections. This type looks like red, raised, pea-sized drops on your skin.
- Inverse type: The plaques appear as smooth red patches and are often found in the moist areas of your body. It affects skin in the armpits, groin, under breasts, and around the genitals.
- Erythrodermic type: This is a rare and severe type of psoriasis in which plaques cover large areas of the skin. These areas itch and are painful.
- Pustular type: Pustules or pimple-like lesions may appear on large red areas of the skin. Sometimes this type is limited to the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
- Psoriatic arthritis: Some people who have psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis makes your joints swollen and painful. You may also have nail changes, such as pitting, thickening, or lifting of the nails off the nail bed.
The Role Of Sunlight: How Can It Help Psoriasis
Most people who have psoriasis find that the sun helps to improve their skins appearance. For some the change is dramatic, with red scaly patches almost disappearing altogether during summer months in a warm climate.
In order to help clear psoriasis, sun exposure needs to be spread over time. A week on a sunny holiday may help but rarely completely clears psoriasis, and if the skin is exposed too soon for too long, sunburn can result, which could cause injury to the skin. In some people with psoriasis such injury can start a new plaque of psoriasis at the site of the injury. This is known as Koebnerisation, after the German dermatologist Heinrich Koebner. Therefore it is important to increase exposure to the sun gradually, to allow your skin to adapt to the sun without burning.
Because ultraviolet light is so effective for many with psoriasis, it is often used in various artificial forms. Ultraviolet phototherapy is a highly effective set of treatments for psoriasis given by hospital dermatology departments and specialist phototherapy centres. UV phototherapy is used in one of two forms: UVB or PUVA. UVB uses short-wave UVB light while PUVA uses a plant-derived photosensitiser with long-wave UVA light. If you need these treatments, your GP or healthcare provider can refer you to a dermatologist who will discuss the most suitable treatment for your psoriasis, including phototherapy.
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Scratches Bites And Skin Injury
If you have a bug bite, cut, or scrape, or youve experienced any kind of skin injury, you may notice new psoriasis lesions near the affected area. These types of injuries can even occur during everyday activities, such as shaving or tending to a garden.
Skin injury can only trigger psoriasis lesions in people who already have psoriasis.
Eat More Greens And Healthy Fats
Although your ideal diet is based on your unique metabolism and biochemistry, almost every woman and man benefits from eating more fresh green vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, and healthy fats, such as omega 3s. Some research suggests, too, that losing weight can reduce psoriasis flare-ups. In addition to filling your diet with more fruits and vegetables, try cutting out foods that are nutrient-poor and may contribute to inflammation, including processed foods and beverages, sugar, and corn syrup.
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How Does Weather Impact Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a chronic, lifelong condition, but most people cycle through periods of flare-ups when symptoms get much worse, and periods of remission when their symptoms are greatly improved or their skin is clear.
Psoriasis triggers are things that can cause flare-ups, and each person psoriasis triggers are a little bit different. For many people, certain types of weather conditions can trigger psoriasis flare-ups. For other people, certain types of weather conditions may improve psoriasis symptoms.
Autoimmune Disease And Sun Exposure: What To Know
From backyard gardening to adventurous hikes, summer offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the sun especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when experts recommend gathering outdoors instead of indoors to reduce the spread of the virus. But for some people with autoimmune diseases, the sun can trigger flares and make symptoms worse.
Ive had patients come back from vacations in Hawaii and all of a sudden they have lupus, says Jeffrey Carlin, MD. And others where it’s taken months to get their disease back in check after a severe sunburn.
Dr. Carlin treated lupus patients for nearly three decades at Virginia Mason and now conducts lupus research at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason . We recently asked him how and why the sun can trigger autoimmune disease flares. Heres what he had to say.