Learning to live with psoriasis

            Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with psoriasis or you’ve had it for a while, living with this condition isn’t easy. If you have psoriasis, you may have painful outbreaks that make it hard to sleep and do your regular activities. Plaque psoriasis, the most common type, causes thick red patches of skin.

Although there is currently no cure for this lifelong skin condition, there are ways to manage it. In addition to ointments and medicines your doctor may prescribe, there are things you can do to reduce discomfort and increase the effectiveness of your treatment.

Tips for living with psoriasis

1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep from feeling tired and stressed and to help your body fight off infections. Try to:

Eat a balanced diet.

Drink plenty of water.

Get enough sleep.

2. Learn your triggers (things that set off a psoriasis attack) so you can try to avoid them. These may include:

Certain infections;

some medications;

Skin injury, such as sunburn;

Stress;

Dry weather.

3. Don’t smoke. It can trigger a flare-up and may make your condition worse.

4. Limit the alcohol you drink. Heavy drinking can trigger an outbreak and may reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Note: If you take methotrexate, don’t drink at all.

5. Try to reduce stress. Stress can trigger a flare-up. You may want to:

Exercise regularly. Talk with your doctor before you begin.

Learn and practice relaxation techniques.

Join a psoriasis support group.

See a therapist or counselor.

6. Take good care of your skin.

 Apply emollients and moisturizers to soften skin and help prevent drying and cracking.

 Don’t scratch. To ease the itch:

* apply a cold compress.

* Put on a menthol-based ointment or topical steroid.

* Soak in a warm oatmeal bath.

* Wear cotton clothing.

7. Protect your skin in winter.

Moisturize at least twice a day, especially after bathing.

Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.

Ask your dermatologist (skin doctor) about winter treatments.

8. Get some sun. Sunlight can help improve your skin. Ask your doctor how much sun exposure you should get. Avoid sunburn, though as it can worsen your symptoms and lead to skin cancer.

Be sure to cover areas not affected by psoriasis with sunscreen. Try putting these suggestions into practice. It may help improve not only your psoriasis, but your overall quality of life. The News

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