It can be worrying for parents, especially when you see your child struggle with itching or discomfort. For some parents, they will think it was a food allergy when their 3-year-old child breaks out with red, hot patches all over his body. But then, when flaky scales and weeping rash start to appear on the little child’s scalp, experts say the symptoms may be due to psoriasis.
What is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. In most cases, it is a long-term (non-contagious) condition that waxes and wanes over a lifetime. It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, skin, nails – though it can appear on any location. It is an autoimmune disorder. That means something in your child’s immune system is telling skin cells to grow too fast. As a result, the cells build up and cause thick, red scales, or lesions. Kids usually get them on the face, buttocks, and scalp. About 1 in 10 people with psoriasis develop it before age 10.
- raised red patches of skin that can have silvery scales on them
- dry, cracked skin that may bleed at times
- itching, soreness, or a burning sensation in the affected area
- thick, pitted fingernails
According to research, doctors are not sure why people get psoriasis, but they do know how the disease works. White blood cells known as T lymphocytes or T cells are part of the immune system. They travel through the bloodstream fighting off bacteria, viruses, and other things that cause illnesses. When someone has psoriasis, however, T cells attack healthy skin as if they were trying to fight an infection or heal a wound. Psoriasis isn’t contagious. Some people inherit the genes that make them susceptible to having it. Many with psoriasis have an immediate family member who also has the disease.
Plaque psoriasis: This is the most common type. If your baby has a raised, red lesion covered with a flaky, silvery-white scale, he may have it. Plaque can show up anywhere, although it most often appears on the elbows, knees, scalp, and lower back.
Guttate psoriasis: This is a form of psoriasis that appears as small, dot-like lesions. Guttate psoriasis often starts in childhood or young adulthood, and can be triggered by a strep infection. This is the second-most common type of psoriasis, after plaque psoriasis. About 10 percent of people who get psoriasis develop guttate psoriasis.
Inverse psoriasis: It shows up as very red lesions in body folds, such as behind the knee, under the arm or in the groin. It may appear smooth and shiny. Many people have another type of psoriasis elsewhere on the body at the same time.
Erythrodermic psoriasis: This type of psoriasis is rare. It can cause a bright red rash that covers the entire body, making the skin look as if it has been burned. It is often accompanied by intense itching and pain, a fast heartbeat, and an inability to maintain a proper body temperature