Psoriatic Disease Risk in the Era of COVID-19
Should I be concerned about increased psoriatic disease risk related to COVID-19?
This question has been on the minds of many people who have psoriasis. Several psoriasis-treating medications are designed to suppress the immune system. Those who take them rightfully wonder if their medication now makes them more vulnerable to severe infection.
Treatment isn’t the only potential source of psoriatic disease risk in the pandemic. Frequent handwashing is essential for preventing the spread of coronavirus, but it also damages psoriatic skin.
Then there’s the question of comorbidities—health conditions linked to psoriasis.
Presently, many patient and doctor concerns remain unanswered . . . at least definitively. Studies are being done to measure current psoriatic disease risk, but a lot remains unknown.
Fortunately, the news we do have is fairly reassuring. Psoriasis patients should still be vigilant in avoiding exposure to COVID-19, but there is no reason to panic.
Here is a quick look at what we know so far.
An Overview of Psoriatic Disease Risk During COVID-19
First, be relieved to know that psoriasis does not seem to make you any more prone to contracting the virus. There is no evidence suggesting that coronavirus enters the body through open cracks or sores.
It is still believed that the virus spreads through exposure to respiratory droplets.
The more pressing question for many psoriasis patients is whether they are prone to more severe infection.
The studies and data collected so far seem to suggest that there is no link between psoriasis and the severity of a coronavirus infection. Those psoriasis patients who had to be hospitalized often had other conditions that are linked to more severe complications.
This includes asthma and heart conditions.
Of course, these studies are still new and small. While this information should help you breathe a little easier, don’t let up on your COVID-19 prevention efforts. There is still quite a bit we do not know about psoriatic disease risk in relation to coronavirus.
Should You Stop Taking Immunosuppressant Medications?
Another pressing question is whether your psoriasis treatment could make you more vulnerable to severe illness.
Once again, researchers are still looking into it.
Early studies suggest that psoriasis patients who had COVID-19 and used biologics for treatment were not more likely to develop complications than inflammatory disease patients who did not use biologics injections.
There is concern about IL-17 inhibiting drugs, as past studies have shown that patients using these medications were more likely to develop respiratory tract infections.
However, IL-17 inhibitors are also being studied as a potential treatment for COVID-19 patients trying to survive a cytokine storm.
The potential Psoriatic disease risk or patients on methotrexate is still unknown. And the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism has suggested that people who regularly take steroids may be at higher risk for COVID-19 complications.
It seems some medications may make you more vulnerable. However, doctors are often more concerned about how your body will react if you cease your current treatment regimen.
Talk to your doctor before making any changes.
Balancing Hand Hygiene and Psoriatic Skin Care
One significant challenge during the pandemic is caring for psoriatic skin while washing your hands frequently.
Constant hand washing can dry your skin and make psoriasis flare-ups significantly worse. Alcohol-based sanitizers can also be hard on psoriatic skin.
Do not scale back on your hand hygiene, but do be as gentle on your skin as possible. Use lukewarm water and gentle soaps. You do not need to scald the virus in order to kill it.
For those with psoriasis, skin hydration is important. Using Delfina twice a day can help prevent psoriasis flare-ups while alcohol-based sanitizers and frequent hand-washing remain necessary.
Delfina is a doctor-developed formula that hydrates and nourishes the deeper levels of the skin. Delfina works by penetrating the skin’s layers to stimulate natural hydration, which help restore psoriatic skin layers. Psoriasis patients swear by it.
For more tips on protecting your skin from the damage of frequent washing, check out this guide.
How to Minimize Psoriatic Disease Risk During the Pandemic
The best way to reduce psoriatic disease risk is to follow the CDC’s guidelines for spread prevention.
- Wash your hands frequently and for twenty seconds at a time.
- Wear a face mask in public areas.
- Regularly clean and disinfect high-touch areas in your home and work space.
- Observe the latest social distancing guidelines
- Learn how to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19.
- Do what you can to boost your immune system.
- Look to the CDC and other reliable organizations for new updates and guidance.
- Check out the COVID-19 Resource Center created by the National Psoriasis Foundation for updates and information addressing your specific health concerns.
Above all, remember that this challenging time is only temporary. Take a deep breath and take it one day at a time. We will all get through it together. And we at Delfina Skin are here to help.