Can Viral & Bacterial Infections Cause a Psoriasis Flare-Up?
Countless environmental and health factors can cause a psoriasis flare-up. From hormone changes to stress, those who struggle with psoriasis are constantly dodging potential triggers.
One of the most common triggers is infection.
If you have psoriasis, the end of summer may mean greater vulnerability to illness and infection. This means you have a higher chance of developing dry, itchy plaques. As cold weather sets in, you should do what you can to boost your immune system.
On the other hand, if you have never had psoriasis before but have recently developed red, itchy patches following an infection contact your doctor. Only your physician can conclusively diagnose psoriasis.
Whether you’re a long-time psoriasis patient or think you may be encountering this affliction for the first time, we can offer some clarity.
Here is a quick guide to the link between flares and infections. We’ll explain which infections cause a psoriasis flare-up, how you can manage the trigger, and how to treat symptoms.
What Types of Infections Cause a Psoriasis Flare-Up?
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder. This means virtually anything affecting the immune system can cause a psoriasis flare-up.
That said, some bacterial and viral infections are more likely than others to trigger psoriasis. The most common flare-causing infections include:
- Strep throat
- Ear infection
- Respiratory infection
Adults who are already diagnosed with psoriasis may experience heightened symptoms after any one of these infections. They may also develop psoriasis for the first time following an illness.
However, children are far more prone to experiencing small, tear-shaped patches of red skin indicating guttate psoriasis. This form of the skin condition is frequently linked to illness and first appeared following a childhood infection.
Understanding Guttate Psoriasis
Guttate psoriasis is the second most common type of psoriasis. This variety is most likely to develop in childhood or early adulthood, often as a result of infection. Strep throat is the most common trigger for guttate psoriasis in children.
Ten percent of people with psoriasis struggle with guttate psoriasis. Unlike the silvery scales that define plaque psoriasis, a guttate psoriasis flare-up is characterized by small, thin patches of red skin. These patches are often dot or tear-shaped.
The first guttate psoriasis flare-up marks the beginning of a lifelong battle with psoriasis, as there is no cure. However, the severity of the condition may vary.
For some individuals, symptoms grow less severe or infrequent as they age. For others, guttate psoriasis eventually leads to plaque psoriasis.
If you or your child develops a flare-up after an infection, consult with a physician right away. A fast, accurate diagnosis can help you treat the current psoriasis symptoms, educate yourself, and guard against future flares.
Can You Prevent a Psoriasis Flare-Up Triggered by Illness?
There is no cure for psoriasis. This means there is no guaranteed method for preventing a psoriasis flare-up.
However, you can take certain steps to discourage or minimize developing symptoms. When it comes to a viral or bacterial infection, your best option for avoiding a flare-up is to treat the infection itself. Do not wait for your illness to run its course. See a doctor right away.
Beyond treating the infection itself, you should also work to avoid other triggers that could aggravate your skin further. You can do this by:
- Avoiding extreme temperature changes
- Taking lukewarm showers
- Creating a psoriasis-friendly diet that avoids inflammatory foods
- Using a humidifier at home or at work
- Wearing natural, breathable fabrics
- Avoiding fragrances
- Using relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation to minimize stress
How to Treat a Flare-Up
If you experience a psoriasis flare-up despite your preventative efforts, there are a few things you can do to ease your symptoms.
Bathing in a lukewarm bath with mineral oil, olive oil, milk, or Epsom salt may soothe your psoriasis flare-up. An omega-3 supplement may help reduce inflammation. Some people also experience relief from applying aloe vera or an oatmeal mask to the affected area.
Between viral infections and everyday triggers, navigating psoriatic skin can be frustrating and tricky. Delfina Skin is here to help. Please don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions about keeping skin healthy, soft, and beautiful.