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COVID-19 and psoriasis – what you need to know.
April 27, 2020

What do I need to know if I have psoriasis?

Around 2% of us, some 1.3M in the UK, have some form of psoriasis. Naturally concern about COVID-19 has been high amongst this group, from those using simple emollients and creams to manage their psoriasis, to those taking potentially immune suppressing drugs.

Our friends at The Psoriasis Association have a wealth of information you can access.

So, are you more at risk of catching COVID-19 if you have psoriasis?

There is no evidence that people with psoriasis have any more or less chance of catching the disease than anyone else. Because of this, it is vitally important that you follow NHS Guidelines on social distancing and isolation.

The most important thing that any of us can do is stay home, protect the NHS, and save lives.

However, if you take immunosuppressant drugs such as methotrexate or ciclosporin, or certain ‘biologic’ drugs to treat your psoriasis, you may be at extra risk of complications from COVID-19 should you become infected. The risk will be dependent on a number of factors, which one or which group of drugs you are taking, and any underlying health conditions other than psoriasis you may have for example.

This may put you into a group which has been recommended to be ‘shielded’. If you fall into this ‘shielding’ group, you should have received a letter from the NHS advising you to stay home and avoid all face-to-face contact with others for at least 12 weeks. Follow the NHS online for updates and more information, and if you are at all concerned contact your pharmacy or GP.

There is specific information about shielding and which drugs/drug combinations are relevant to psoriasis here at:

https://www.psoriasis-association.org.uk/psoriasis-and-treatments/covid-19-information#shielding

Remember, you should not stop taking you medication without the advice of your healthcare professional, and if you are in any doubts you should contact your prescriber for further support.

We’ve all been advised to wash our hands more frequently, but hand washing irritates my psoriasis – what should I do?

 Many people with psoriasis on their hands will be affected by the government’s advice to wash our hands more frequently, using soap and water for 20 seconds. You may find it helpful to wash your hands a second time with a moisturising / emollient soap substitute to help prevent your skin cracking and drying.

Keeping moisturisers with you when you go out, and by your sink may help you remember to apply after each wash. Some people find that cotton gloves worn at night with moisturiser can be very effective.

Remember to always use plastic or rubber gloves (being sure you are not allergic to them) when washing dishes, and if you are not going out as much as usual (as we all are) it may be worthwhile considering removing some, if not all of your normal jewellery.

Remember to take care of your skin, take care of your health, and take care of others.

For more information go to:

https://www.psoriasis-association.org.uk/psoriasis-and-treatments/covid-19-information

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Talking Medicines are providing this content for information purposes only, please consult your healthcare professional for any specific advice.

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