For one, no, psoriasis isn’t contagious. By Dawn Chen
Find out more about psoriasis. Photo: 123RF.com/ Tharakorn Arunothai
Today (Oct 29) marks World Psoriasis Day, so there’s no better time to get the myths and facts about this skin disease straight. In Singapore, psoriasis affects an estimated 40,000 persons, and sufferers have to live with the skin itching and irritation as a permanent cure for psoriasis has yet to be found. By being informed about the disease, we can help lessen the stigma surrounding psoriasis. Find out more about psoriasis below.
Myth: Psoriasis is contagious.
Fact: No, psoriasis is definitely not infectious or contagious. You cannot get psoriasis from someone who has it – not through skin contact, sharing of food etc. According to a new survey by the Psoriasis Association of Singapore (PAS), only 48 per cent of 340 respondents correctly identified that the condition isn’t contagious. What’s worse: 52 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t allow their children to play with psoriasis sufferers, and 62 per cent of respondents said they wouldn’t approve their child’s marriage to someone with psoriasis.
Myth: Psoriasis is caused by poor hygiene.
Fact: Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease. The exact cause of psoriasis is still unknown, but researchers believe that it’s likely a mix of genetic and environmental factors. Psoriasis is not caused by poor hygiene though, and taking more frequent showers is not going to cure a patient with psoriasis.
Myth: Psoriasis only affects the skin.
Fact: Besides affecting the skin (psoriasis usually presents as inflamed, red, itchy and scaly patches), psoriasis can also affect the scalp and cause nail pitting. Psoriasis can even affect the joints, in a condition known as psoriatic arthritis. This leads to painful swelling of the joints.
Myth: Psoriasis becomes less severe with time.
Fact: Psoriasis is a disease that changes in severity from time to time. According to the Psoriasis Association of Singapore (PAS), “psoriasis is known to be a waxing and waning disease… psoriasis has a tendency to persist and recur.” Certain triggers like stress or taking alcohol can make the condition flare up. Treatment can help to control the disease, and lessen the effects it has on everyday life. But since there’s no actual cure, psoriasis patients must be prepared that even if symptoms subside, they could come back in the future.
To find out more about psoriasis, visit the Psoriasis Association of Singapore (PAS)’s website.