Psoriasis Isn't Contagious and Other Myths Busted
We just might have to thank Kim Kardashian for raising awareness of psoriasis - a common disease that affects 7.5 million Americans. The lifelong condition that she and other celebrities like LeAnn Rimes have, causes an unsightly, itchy rash.
Beyond vanity, one of the most frustrating aspects for psoriasis patients is facing outsiders' negative reactions to their flare-ups. If you don't understand the disease, you might fear getting close to someone who's afflicted. Or, you might even dismiss the condition as a cosmetic problem. Here, we break down common myths and share the facts about psoriasis:
Myth #1: Psoriasis is contagious.
It's easy to see why you might shy away from touching someone with psoriasis. The rash looks like it could be contagious. But it isn't something you can catch from someone else.
The exact cause of psoriasis isn't known, but doctors believe it's an autoimmune disorder (the result of an overactive immune response). In people with psoriasis, the body creates skin cells faster than normal. The cells build up and layer over one another causing irritation and a silvery white thickening of the affected area.
Myth #2: Those dry, scaly patches will go away if you use lotion.
Unfortunately, psoriasis isn’t simply dry skin, so over-the-counter moisturizers won’t help eliminate the scaly patches. However, psoriasis treatments include prescription lotions and creams that can be used to slow skin-cell growth and reduce irritation.
Myth #3: Itching your skin will cause psoriasis to spread.
Psoriasis isn’t a skin infection and can’t be spread through touching or itching. But the following triggers may set off a new bout of rashes or worsen symptoms of existing psoriasis patches:
- Cold weather
- Certain medications (Consult your healthcare provider about which medications may be right for you).
Myth #4: Symptoms of psoriasis are only skin deep.
Psoriasis rashes aren't just unattractive, they're also itchy and painful. About 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop a condition, called psoriatic arthritis that causes joint pain, stiffness and swelling.
Myth #5: Psoriasis can be cured with treatment.
There is no cure for psoriasis. However, the following treatments can help manage symptoms:
- Prescription lotions
- Light therapy
- Oral medications
- Medications by injection or through an intravenous (IV) infusion
A doctor who specializes in dermatology, or treating skin disorders, can assess the severity of psoriasis and recommend the best treatment.
Myth #6: Psoriasis is preventable.
Anyone can develop psoriasis, but you're more likely to have psoriasis if someone in your family has the disease. Having a severe infection like HIV, or reoccurring infections like strep throat may make you more likely to develop psoriasis, too. Other factors that may increase your risk include smoking, obesity and stress.
Now that you know the truth about psoriasis, please help spread the word. Share this information with others on Facebook and Twitter today!