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When to Seek Medical Care
People should see a doctor or health-care professional if they have symptoms of psoriasis, such as red raised patches of skin with silvery scales, and do not feel comfortable with how their skin looks or feels. Psoriasis is usually a mild inconvenience to most people. However, for others, it may be disabling or painful. The doctor can prescribe treatments that help. If symptoms are treated when they first appear, the condition will usually not progress.
When someone with psoriasis visits the doctor, he or she is usually concerned about raised, itchy, red areas on the skin that are scaly or peeling. The individual is typically self-conscious about the plaques or scaly areas and uses clothing to cover the affected skin to avoid being embarrassed in public.
Those with psoriasis commonly recognize that new areas of psoriasis occur within seven to 10 days after the skin has been injured. This has been called the Koebner reaction. Sometimes, the reverse occurs in which psoriasis clears after injury to the skin.
People should always see a doctor if they have psoriasis and develop significant joint pain, stiffness, or deformity. They may be in the reported 10% of individuals with psoriasis who develop psoriatic arthritis and would be a candidate for systemic (pill or injection) therapy.
Always see a doctor if signs of infection develop. Common signs of infection are red streaks or pus from the red areas, fever with no other cause, or increased pain.
People need to see a doctor if they have serious side affects from their medications. (See Understanding Psoriasis Medications.)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/15/2014
Jeffrey J. Meffert, MD
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