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    Psoriasis in Fall and Winter: 7 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

    How can I safely get the ultraviolet light my skin needs? continued...

    Other phototherapy options for psoriasis treatment include the use of ultraviolet light A (UVA) in conjunction with special medications that respond to these light rays. This is rarely used, however, because it can cause skin cancer.

    Looking for a reason to take a getaway to some tropical locale? It could be just what the doctor ordered to ease your psoriasis symptoms. The beneficial effects of a sunny vacation in the middle of winter could help ease psoriasis symptoms for a few months.

    I tend to eat more and drink more alcohol in the fall and winter months. Will this affect my psoriasis?

    Alcohol and key foods probably will not trigger a psoriasis flare. Though medical researchers have yet to prove that certain foods cause psoriasis flares, many patients report that eating certain foods seems to worsen their psoriasis. This, though, may be a coincidence. If you notice a regular connection between eating certain foods and increased skin symptoms, ask your doctor whether you can safely eliminate the suspect foods from your diet to assess any changes in your psoriasis.

    Alcohol binges are associated with worsening psoriasis. If you tend to smoke when you drink, you might be dealing yourself a double whammy. Evidence indicates that people who smoke tobacco products may be more likely to develop a form of psoriasis that causes pustules to develop on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Researchers have also found a correlation between smoking and more serious forms of psoriasis.

    Could strep throat and other winter illnesses affect my psoriasis?

    If you suffer from psoriasis, an infection by bacteria and viruses can cause symptoms to flare. A strep infection, specifically, is a known trigger for guttate psoriasis, a form of the disease that causes red, droplet-shaped lesions to develop on the abdomen, back, arms, and legs.

    Although researchers don’t know the exact cause of psoriasis, the immune system seems to play a key role in its development. Germs, illness, viruses or bacteria -- anything that temporarily revs up your immune system -- may cause your symptoms to worsen. Even something as simple as a common cold or respiratory virus may trigger a psoriasis flare. Strive to keep yourself healthy by eating a balanced diet, getting regular physical activity, getting enough rest and keeping stress levels under control.

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