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What are certain triggers that can make my psoriasis symptoms worse?

ANSWER

  • Psoriasis is an immune system problem. Certain triggers may make your symptoms worse. They include: Cold, dry weather. Any climate that relieves dry skin will help. Try to spend some time in warm sunny weather and high humidity.
  • Stress. Keep calm and try to stay relaxed. Outbreaks are more likely to pop up when you are anxious.
  • Some medicines. These include some ”beta-blocker” drugs used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease; lithium, a treatment for bipolar disorder; and pills taken to treat malaria. Tell your doctor if you have psoriasis and are being treated for any of these conditions.
  • Infections. There is a short list of infections including strep throat and tonsillitis that can trigger a special kind of psoriasis outbreak. It looks like small drops that show up mainly on your torso and limbs. HIV infection can also make it worse.
  • Skin Injury. In some people, the tiniest cuts, bruises, and burns can cause an outbreak. Even tattoos and bug bites might trigger a new lesion. You can wear gloves or put on an extra layer of clothes to avoid a break in your skin.
  • Alcohol. Drinking, especially heavy drinking in young men, may trigger or worsen symptoms and interfere with treatments. Combining certain psoriasis medications with alcohol can have dangerous side effects, especially for women in their child-bearing years.
  • Smoking. Using tobacco or being around second hand smoke raises your risk of getting psoriasis and worsens existing conditions.

SOURCES:

Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD, associate director of dermatopharmacology, department of dermatology, New York University School of Medicine; co-director, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center.

Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, director, Clinical Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City; assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

American Academy of Dermatology.

National Psoriasis Foundation.

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on November 18, 2017

SOURCES:

Bruce E. Strober, MD, PhD, associate director of dermatopharmacology, department of dermatology, New York University School of Medicine; co-director, Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis Center.

Jeffrey M. Weinberg, MD, director, Clinical Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, New York City; assistant clinical professor of dermatology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

American Academy of Dermatology.

National Psoriasis Foundation.

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman on November 18, 2017

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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