Fall/Winter Questions and Answers
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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 or home 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 attenuated 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.

Do tanning beds help improve psoriasis?

In general, tanning beds are not considered as effective as UVB phototherapy that is administered in your doctor's office. However, it can serve as a good alternative for those who have difficulty getting to their doctor frequently or have no health coverage. Use common sense when trying light treatment. Gradually increase exposure time to help avoid burning. If you experience intense itching following a light treatment, try decreasing your exposure time and using a good moisturizer.

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 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 hand 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 microorganism 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 higher than normal levels of strep in your system.

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