COVID-19 Guidelines for People with Psoriasis
Recommendation: Lower Your Exposure Risk
The task force recommends practicing physical distancing, wearing face coverings in public settings when physical distancing is difficult, and washing hands regularly.
Even though I feel fatigued trying to follow these recommendations month after month, I stay vigilant. Recent news suggests that COVID-19 might not go away for a while yet.
So I will continue to do my best to lower my exposure risk, even if I donâ€™t always do it perfectly. That means washing my hands regularly and moisturizing them afterward, since they become irritated or dry if I forget. I try not to touch my face, although I struggle with eczema itchiness. I regularly wear face coverings in public, although sometimes the moisture buildup irritates my face.
Recommendation: Maintain Your Current Medications
A major question I had from the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic is whether I should continue taking my biologic, Skyrizi (risankizumab).
While Iâ€™m not a scientist or medical professional, I understand that psoriasis stems from an overactive immune system. Since my injectable biologic works by suppressing my immune system, I reasoned that it might raise my coronavirus risk.
But the task force recommends that people with psoriasis continue biologic or oral therapies. Hereâ€™s its statement: â€œWhile some uncertainties remain, initial data suggest that the benefit of continuing treatments for psoriatic diseases outweighs the hypothetical risks associated with immune-modulating treatment of poor COVID-19-related outcomes for most patients.â€
The task force also encourages each individual with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis to consult with their healthcare provider, who can discuss a therapy plan while considering factors such as a patientâ€™s age, disease characteristics, current treatments, underlying medication conditions, and personal concerns.
I appreciate the task forceâ€™s acknowledgment that treatment decisions are unique for each person. To discuss my own options, I messaged my dermatologist a couple of months ago. We decided at the time, and again at my most recent telemedicine appointment, to continue my biologic therapy.
Without the biologic I would be at risk for a major flare, something I would like to avoid if possible. Because I mostly stay at home and am younger than 65 â€” two factors that reduce my risk of coronavirus exposure and complications â€” my dermatologist and I decided that controlling my psoriasis outweighed any possible risk associated with my medication. I feel at peace with this treatment course, knowing I can contact my dermatologist any time to discuss changes as necessary.
Recommendation: Discuss Treatment Options With Your Doctor if You Get Infected
I donâ€™t like to think about what might happen if I become infected with COVID-19. Iâ€™d rather spend my time and energy minimizing exposure to prevent it from happening. But if I do contract the disease, Iâ€™m glad the task force addressed what to do.
As with other recommendations, they advise talking to a healthcare professional about whether to stop biologic or oral therapies while infected with COVID-19.
In past years, when I had a bacterial infection or the flu, my dermatologist advised me to stop any medications that affected my immune system. But with COVID-19, the situation may be different. The task force makes the point that psoriasis medications could potentially even treat COVID-19: â€œWhile it is generally advised to hold immune-modulating treatment during an infection, in the case of COVID-19, several different immune-modulating treatments used for psoriasis and other immune-mediated or autoimmune diseases are being studied in experimental placebo-controlled trials to treat or prevent severe COVID-19 illness in those infected with SARS-CoV-2.â€
Recommendation: Consider Starting Treatment if Youâ€™re Newly Diagnosed
The task force recommends that people who are newly diagnosed with psoriatic conditions or living with untreated psoriatic disease consider initiating therapy: â€œUntreated psoriatic disease is associated with serious impact on physical and emotional health, and in the case of psoriatic arthritis, can lead to permanent joint damage and disability.â€ I know that without treatment my skin would be covered in psoriatic lesions that would lead to a lot of physical discomfort and emotional distress.
The task force also notes that stress is a potential trigger for worsening psoriasis. That has been true for me. My psoriasis and eczema worsened at the beginning of the pandemic, and I have experienced some sleepless nights worrying â€” insomnia is another psoriasis trigger for me. Furthermore, the task force mentions that there have been â€œreports of psoriasis flares associated with COVID-19 illness.â€ These serve as additional reasons to consider seeking treatment. Of course, all of these considerations entail a conversation with your healthcare provider.
Iâ€™m grateful for the task forceâ€™s work but am still left with my original question: Does having psoriatic disease elevate my risk of contracting the coronavirus or ending up with a worse COVID-19 outcome? The task force doesnâ€™t seem to have an answer for me yet; Iâ€™ll keep an eye out for their next update.
The Latest in Psoriasis
Picking at Your Psoriasis Scales? Do This Instead
Itâ€™s tempting to peel and pick at those itchy scales, but if you can help it, there are better ways to cope.
What Black Patients Need To Know About The Effects of Psoriasis
Psoriasis can look differently on darker skin than on lighter skin â€” and knowing how to spot the symptoms is an important first step of the treatment ...
Ways to Protect Your Eye Health â€” and Preserve Your Vision â€” With Psoriasis
How to keep the skin condition from negatively impacting your vision.
7 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Your Next Hair Salon Visit if You Have Scalp Psoriasis
Scalp psoriasis symptoms can make a routine trip to the hair salon stressful. But with the right approach, you can have an easier visit â€” and a healthy...
Do You Need a COVID-19 Vaccine Booster if You Have Psoriasis?
Psoriasis drugs that work by suppressing the bodyâ€™s immune response may raise the risk of COVID-19 complications. If youâ€™re already immunized, can a booster...
Psoriasis Awareness: A 2021 Special Report
Psoriasis flares have been on the rise in 2021, according to a survey of ishonest readers who have the skin condition. Hereâ€™s what might be to ...
Psoriasis: How to Deal with Cracked, Bleeding Skin
Take these steps to heal your skin and avoid future fissures.
Your Psoriasis Diet: Best Foods for Spring and Summer
Ready to break out your favorite warm-weather recipes? Here are delicious anti- inflammatory ingredients you should consider using.
Read more on: psoriasis