Click here for COVID-19 (coronavirus) advice for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Seeing less of friends, family and colleagues have taken a toll on Amy’s mental health throughout the pandemic, leading to worries that her psoriasis might flare. Here, she shares her story and why she was keen to take part in PsoProtectMe.
I have suffered from plaque and scalp psoriasis since my teens, with flares during stressful periods of my life. It was not ideal at school - worrying about visible flakes on top of all the normal teenage stresses!
I’ve always been fortunate that it’s been mild even during a flare, but even at its clearest I always have psoriasis on my scalp, elbows and knees. During the pandemic, I’ve found my patches have increased in size, my scalp particularly, I have a much higher turnover of plaques, and a lot more flaking. I also have far more patches on areas not usually affected. Plus, the use of hand sanitizer has dried out my hands more than ever.
I have been lucky in that my employer had us all working from home, before lockdown was formally announced, so I am not making the daily commute and sleeping in later! But obviously with that change in working, comes the change in routine that my skin hates, on top of the underlying stress and tension from trying to live and work “normally” through a pandemic and lockdown especially. Not seeing family, friends, and even colleagues, as often has had a negative effect on my mental health, which I know is something that can aggravate my psoriasis - from both the obvious underlying stress, but also the associated decrease in self-care that then affects my skin. Reduced activity, not just socially, but being able to wander around a town centre or go for a walk in the country has meant that I don’t feel I am able to give my body the level of exercise I find beneficial for my wellbeing.
When I saw PsoProtectMe mentioned on the Psoriasis Association’s Instagram page, I clicked to find out more. I manage a clinical trial myself and feel it’s important to be part of research where I can. Often though, because my psoriasis is mild, I am not a match, but that’s the beauty of PsoProtectMe – it’s asking the questions of everyone, to get a real cross-section of respondents. It was very easy to complete and I feel like I was able to contribute something that might benefit others. While we’re all in the state of uncertainty and flux, one theme has recurred even in the seemingly darkest times, and that’s that if we help each other and work together, we can achieve anything.
If you'd like to help support vital research into COVID-19 and psoriasis please take the PsoProtectMe survey. The survey is for everyone with psoriasis to complete, irrespective of whether you have had symptoms of COVID-19 or not.