Is Psoriasis Contagious? What You Should Know...

Psoriasis is not contagious at all. Here's Why...

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Psoriasis is a skin condition that results in red patches that are very scaly on your skin. It can somewhat resemble a rash and therefore it raises concern with people that it may be contagious. However, you should not worry. It is not contagious at all. You will not catch psoriasis by touching someone else who has it.

Cause of Psoriasis

The symptoms of psoriasis appear on the skin but, the problem actually lies within the immune system. It is a type of autoimmune disease. When a person has psoriasis, their body’s overreact. In some cases, their body reacts at the wrong time which affects the inside and outside of the body.
 
People with psoriasis have immune systems that make their skin cells grow faster than they normally should. This overproduction causes the cells to pile up and then form the thick, red and scaly lesions on their body. 
 
There are many variations of this condition. The most common type is plaque psoriasis. With this type, the lesions are often present on the elbows, scalp, or knees. This is not to say they do not ever appear on other parts of the body, these are just the most common areas.

How Does a Person Get Psoriasis?

Studies have shown that there are certain genes linked to psoriasis. Basically, this means that if someone in your family has it, there is a chance that you will also get it. Even in people that have the gene for it, it is necessary for there to be a factor to stir up the condition. These factors could be physical such as a cut, bad sunburn, or even an infection such as strep throat. There are also some instances where certain medications, cold weather, or stress that can cause the onset of psoriasis. 

Once the psoriasis is initially triggered, it becomes a condition that you have for the rest of your life. Although there are ways to help alleviate the symptoms, there is not a cure for the disease.

Physical Contact

There was a time when doctors confused psoriasis with leprosy and they even thought that the people who had it were contagious. Over time, studies were done that found that to be far from true. You can not in any way contract the disease from brushing up against someone. You also can not get it from touching, kissing, having sex, or even swimming in the same water as a person who has it.

Diagnosis

The National Psoriasis Foundation says that the condition of psoriasis often develops anywhere between the ages of 10 and 35 for people. However, it may appear at any age in someone’s life. At least 15% of people who are diagnosed with the condition have it before the age of 10. In very rare cases, there have been infants to develop the condition as well. 

Normally, the diagnosis of psoriasis is made by a dermatologist. It is possible that your primary care doctor will recognize the signs of it but, they usually refer you to a dermatologist for the official diagnosis. Typically, an examination is done of your skin and your family medical history is assessed. If you have at least one parent with the disease, you are considered to be at high risk of having it yourself. There are some doctors who will perform a skin biopsy to determine which type of psoriasis that you actually have.

Treatment

There is not a known cure for this condition. It can go into what is known as remission where the symptoms subside, but it will not ever fully go away. The ultimate goal of treatment is to help the symptoms and pain associated with them to subside. 

When treatment is done, it slows down or stops the appearance of any lesions you may have. During this time, your doctor will attempt to figure out what your triggers are. There are options for medications, light therapy, and topical treatments. It is important to talk with your doctor to figure out which avenue is best for you and your situation. 

The Bottom Line

Psoriasis is not contagious at all. It is an autoimmune disease that affects many people. There are still many misconceptions. If you are around someone that questions if the condition is contagious, do your best to help them understand that it really is not. Spreading this type of awareness will help people to better understand the condition. In previous years, people have not been well educated about the condition and therefore there has been a great misunderstanding when it comes to it being contagious. In more recent years, there has been more awareness spread to curb those misconceptions and help people to realize that those with the condition are really not a threat in any way at all. Education about it is important.

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