Spotting and Treating Psoriasis in Kids
Psoriasis in children is often misdiagnosed – lesions in children may not resemble the psoriatic plaques seen in adults. Babies are less likely to develop psoriasis, however it does occasionally occur. Consult with your health care provider so that a correct diagnosis may be made if your child has a persistent rash or other type of skin change.
Signs of Psoriasis in Children
Symptoms of psoriasis in a child include:
- Discolored and rough fingernails or toenails.
- Thick, shiny, scaly patches may appear on the scalp. These patches may initially look like cradle cap, however they are thicker, and persist despite your efforts to get rid of them.
- Bright red areas between the fingers and toes, on the groin, or between the buttocks. Unlike diaper rash, the areas may be shiny and not respond to treatment.
- Lesions similar to the psoriatic plaques that adults get may appear. They are most common on the trunk, arms, and legs and are often crusty, scaly, and itchy and silver colored.
- The skin may crack, and the skin surrounding the lesions may be inflamed and red.
Children may also develop psoriasis lesions that look like small red dots. This is called guttate psoriasis and is more common in children than adults. Guttate psoriatic lesions most commonly appear on the trunk.
Psoriasis often develops within a week or two after an infection. Strep throat is the infection that is most commonly followed by a psoriasis outbreak. Ear infections, strep throat, bronchitis, and upper respiratory infections occur prior to the onset of lesions in one third to one half of children affected.
Some children develop psoriatic lesions to an area which has previously been injured. For example, if your child has previously sustained a burn, psoriatic lesions may develop there. The appearance of psoriatic lesions after an injury is known as the “Koebner phenomenon.”
I Have Psoriasis – Will My Children Get It Too?
If you have psoriasis your children do have a higher than average risk of developing it at some point in their lives, as there is a genetic component to the disease.
If one parent has the condition, there is a one in ten change that your children will develop it. If both parents have the condition, the chances of your children getting psoriasis increases to one in two.
If you have a baby or child with psoriasis, you may be reluctant to use strong prescription medicines on them. Many of the medications used to treat psoriasis have not been approved for use by infants and children, and if your child is very young, you may be concerned that your child may accidentally ingest topical prescription creams by licking or chewing on their skin.
Home remedies are an important part of a treatment plan, regardless of whether or not you use conventional treatments for your child.
Page three: caring for your child’s skin.