The COVID-19 virus has been impacting lives, and it is a cause for concern especially for those already dealing with chronic conditions like psoriasis. Many unknowns surround the COVID-19 virus, many questions are being asked but very few answers are available. Everyday scientists and researchers all over the world are working towards finding better treatment options and developing preventive vaccines.

Meanwhile in these trying times, here are 3 tips to be COVID-19 wise!

1 Know your 'risk'1

Everyone with a chronic condition is at risk of getting infected. However, you can further lower your risk by following safety measures as suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO):

Practice social distancing

Wear a mask in public places

Practice frequent hand washing and sanitisation

You may be considered as ‘High Risk’if you are:1

More than 60
years of age1

You have other chronic
co-morbid conditions like
diabetes, heart problems,
high blood pressure, liver,
kidney or respiratory disease1

Remember

There is no definite evidence to suggest that people with psoriasis are more likely to contract COVID-19.1,2

2 Understand your treatment1,3

Your doctor will be the best judge to decide the risk or benefit of therapy continuation.

International Guidelines like the National Psoriasis Foundation and American Academy of Dermatology have listed the following recommendations for those under treatment for psoriasis:

  • Biologic or oral therapies for psoriasis need not be discontinued unless your Dermatologist specifically instructs you to do so.1,3
  • Most therapies (with the exception of long term systemic steroids and cyclosporine) will not increase the risk of contracting COVID-19.1

Talk to your dermatologist before making any changes to your prescribed treatment

Did You Know?

Studies have shown that increased stress levels could worsen Psoriasis symptoms.2 On the other hand, interruption of treatment can lead to severe flares or recurrence of symptoms (Figure 1).4-6 Another, often overlooked point is that there would be a decreased response to medications once treatment is stopped and restarted.4

Figure 1:The impact of COVID-19 pandemic fear on your symptoms4-6

Remember4,6

○ Continuation of prescribed therapy, especially when there is no sign of infection, is the key to managing your condition better.

○ In case you develop symptoms of COVID-19, always remember to consult your Dermatologist before making any changes or adjustment to your treatment.

3 Talk to your Dermatologist

It is important that you regularly keep in touch with your Dermatologist using video based or tele-calling applications.

Your discussion can be based on:

Current disease activity
Let your Dermatologist know if your symptoms have become severe or worsened.

Ongoing treatment:
Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of your current treatment. Your Dermatologist will address all your concerns regarding therapy.

Ensuring continual treatment
Your Dermatologist will help you to schedule an appointment based on your current symptoms, your ongoing treatment and the availability of appointment slots.

Pay attention to your symptoms. When in doubt, call your Dermatologist

Remember

○ Communicate your fears, doubts or queries about your current treatment options. Your Dermatologist has your interest at heart.

○ Partnering with your Dermatologist during times like these and adhering to your prescribed treatment will ensure that your symptoms remain under control.

We are living in changing times, which is undoubtedly stressful for both you and your family. It is upto you to make your health a priority by knowing your risk, understanding your treatment options and having a frank conversation with your Dermatologist about your condition.

Know more about how to make the most of your upcoming visit to the Dermatologist while adhering to the ‘new’ protocols.

It’s never too late to 'Unhide Psoriasis'. Be safe!

References:

  1. National Psoriasis Foundation. NPF Forms COVID-19 Task Force. Available [Online] at: https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/coronavirus Accessed on 26 June 2020.
  2. Amerio P, et al. DOI: 10.1111/dth.13434.
  3. American Academy of Dermatology Association. Guidance on the use of immunosuppressive agents. Available [Online] at: https://www.aad.org/member/practice/coronavirus/clinical-guidance/biologics Accessed on 25 June 2020.
  4. Chat V, et al. Journal of Dermatological Treatment, DOI: 10.1080/09546634.2020.1781045
  5. Ceribelli A, et al. Journal of Autoimmunity 2020;109:102442. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaut.2020.102442
  6. Colleto LA, et al. Dermatologic Therapy. 2020;e13415.