Fall and winter can be the toughest times of year for people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about psoriasis and the cooler seasons.
Why does my psoriasis get worse in the winter?
A combination of dry air, decreased sunlight exposure, and colder temperatures all contribute to psoriasis getting worse in the winter. Frequent moisturizing and using a home humidifier can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Also, discuss treatment such as UVB phototherapy with your doctor.
Can I get the flu shot or other immunizations if I have psoriasis?
Yes, as long as your psoriasis is not actively flaring and you get the inactivated or “non-live” version of the vaccine. However, not all vaccines are a good idea for psoriasis sufferers. For example, the smallpox vaccine is one that may not be recommended to psoriasis patients. This is because the smallpox virus can be passed from person to person through an open wound. Always talk with your dermatologist before getting an immunization or vaccine.
Should I move to a warmer climate for my psoriasis?
For some people, moving to a new location can be helpful. However, there is no guarantee that your psoriasis will improve. Many people have reported that when they first moved to a new climate, their psoriasis did improve. However, maintenance of that improvement is not always seen.
Will my psoriasis get worse if I get sick?
Anything that can affect the immune system can, in turn, affect psoriasis. Having a cold or the flu can definitely play a role in your psoriasis. Make sure you get plenty of rest, wash your hands frequently, and try to be aware of other triggers in your life, such as stress, that can increase your susceptibility to sickness.
Is there a link between strep throat and psoriasis?
One form of psoriasis called guttate is often associated with strep throat. A bacterium called Streptococcus causes strep infections. Many times, a person may not even have symptoms of strep throat but still have an active flare of psoriasis. Talk with your doctor about getting a streptococcal antibody test to determine if you have higher-than-normal levels of strep in your system.