Pictures of Erythrodermic Psoriasis and How to Treat It
An estimated 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. Psoriasis affects the body’s immune system, causing it to unnecessarily produce an excessive amount of skin cells. These extra cells build up on the skin, leaving a flaky rash. Erythrodermic psoriasis is a very rare type of this skin disorder. It only affects about three percent of people with psoriasis, but can be very serious.
The Link To Pustular Psoriasis
The pustular and erythrodermic forms of psoriasis often occur together. In pustular psoriasis, small white blisters filled with pus appear on the skin—especially on the hands and feet. The skin around these pus-filled blisters is red. Erythrodermic psoriasis usually affects people with von Zumbusch pustular psoriasis. This type of pustular psoriasis causes blisters to appear very quickly on the skin.
People with erythrodermic psoriasis look as though they’ve been burned. As it turns out, sunburn is one of the triggers for this type of psoriasis. But erythrodermic psoriasis is no sunburn. The main symptom of this condition is a deep red rash that forms all over the body. The skin becomes red and inflamed. Like burned skin, it peels off—but in large sheets. The red, inflamed skin is very painful and itchy.
Dangerous Body Changes
Erythrodermic psoriasis not only affects the skin, it can disrupt the whole body chemistry. It can lead to wild temperature swings in the body. One may suffer fluid retention causing swelling—especially in the ankles. In severe cases, people can get pneumonia or heart failure, requiring hospitalization.
Soothe the Burn
You can rub a steroid ointment on your skin to bring down redness and swelling. Moisturizers and wet dressings can protect your skin and prevent it from peeling. If the rash is itchy and painful, an oatmeal bath can feel soothing on your skin. Make sure to also drink plenty of liquids to keep well hydrated.
There are a few oral medications that can help treat erythrodermic psoriasis. Cyclosporine, an anti-rejection drug, dampens the immune response that causes psoriasis. Inflimixab is a drug used to treat autoimmune diseases. Both of these medicines work fairly quickly. Acitretin (Soriatane) and the cancer drug methotrexate are also effective treatments, but take effect more slowly. All of these medicines have potential side effects. It’s important to keep in close touch with your doctor while you take them.
It’s best to see a dermatologist for psoriasis treatment. The doctor may give you a combination of oral and topical medicines. Combining a few different medicines may work better than taking a single drug alone. You may also need pain relievers to control your discomfort, as well as medications to help you sleep. Some people also take medications for controlling the itch and antibiotics for clearing up a skin infection.
No Easy Fix
Treating erythrodermic psoriasis isn’t quick and easy. It can involve a lot of trial and error. You may have to try a few different drugs, or a combination of medicines and lifestyle remedies, to find the course of treatment that works best for you. And you will probably need to keep taking these drugs for many years to keep your symptoms under control. Your doctor can help you find an effective treatment plan.
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