COVID-19 Information

Important information regarding COVID-19 (coronavirus) for people who are living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, including those taking immunosuppressive medicines.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have put together this information for people who are living with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis. Please use the menu below to navigate to the relevant information.

  1. Resources for you
  2. Am I at higher risk of catching COVID-19 if I have psoriasis?
  3. What about if I take immunosuppressant medication?
  4. How can I lower the risk of catching COVID-19?
  5. COVID-19 vaccine and psoriasis
  6. Shielding and advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable
  7. What if frequent handwashing irritates my psoriasis?
  8. Guidance on face coverings and avoiding irritation of psoriasis
  9. What research is taking place? Introducing PsoProtect & PsoProtectMe
  10. Reporting suspected side effects from medicines
  11. Useful links

Resources for you


To help you live well with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis during the pandemic, we've put together the following resources:

  • Preparing for a virtual consultation
  • Hints and tips for coming out of isolation
  • Hints and tips for coping well with the COVID-19 pandemic from Professor Chris Bundy
  • Eating well during this challenging time
  • Video - Professor Griffiths on COVID-19 and psoriasis (recorded on 30th March 2020)
  • Preparing for a virtual consultation

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that more people than ever are having their healthcare appointments held by telephone or video. For many, this is a completely new experience and it can be a little disconcerting having to rely on technology when you’re used to seeing your doctor or nurse face-to-face. While many aspects of a virtual appointment will be the same as in-person, others (including the technology itself) will be different, which is why we’ve put this resource together.

    The tips have been divided into two sections: those to bear in mind in advance of your appointment; and those to consider during the appointment itself. We hope they will be helpful, whether your next appointment is with a GP, nurse, dermatologist or rheumatologist. If you have any tips of your own that you think we should add to the resource, please do get in touch and let us know.

    Click here to view the top tips resource

    Hints and tips for coming out of isolation


    isolationWhile going into isolation was worrying, coming out of isolation can also cause anxiety for many people. Everyone is different and some people need more support than others.

    This is a troubling time for everyone and it is normal to worry about what lockdown and isolation means for you and your family. It only becomes a big problem when it stops you doing things you need to and has an impact on the rest of your life.

    With the help of Professor Chris Bundy (Professor in Behavioural Medicine at Cardiff University), we've produced a resource with hints and tips designed to help you manage fear or worry and keep it in proportion so you can go about doing the things you need to do.

    Click here to the view the tips resource

    Hints and tips for coping well with the COVID-19 pandemic from Professor Chris Bundy


    Mental Health With the current Coronavirus outbreak dominating the headlines it is not surprising that people are feeling anxious and worried about what may happen next. For some people with psoriasis, stress can make the condition flare, so looking after your psychological wellbeing is as important as caring for your physical health. 

    With this in mind, we have teamed up with Professor Chris Bundy (Professor in Behavioural Medicine at Cardiff University) to create a resource for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis on how to manage their worry about their condition and its treatment, as well as their concerns about COVID-19.

    The tips cover a range of topics including managing your worry, expressing worry and anxiety, coping with isolation and when to access help and support. There is also a daily schedule, to help people to structure their day and stay engaged and active whilst spending more time at home.

    Click below to access the relevant documents;

    Hints and tips for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis

    Daily schedule

    Eating well during this challenging time


    Diet resource (website news)In this challenging time, it is understandable that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may be concerned about their diet or have questions about nutritional issues. If you are stressed or outside of your usual routine then your diet can suffer, but it's important to try and maintain a healthy, balanced diet for your general health and wellbeing if possible.

    Using information from the British Dietetic Association, we've put together a handy resource to help you continue to eat well. The tips included range from supporting your immune system to planning your food shops, and considering how you store and use your food.

    Download the resource here

    Video - Professor Griffiths on COVID-19 and psoriasis (recorded on 30th March 2020)


    The current situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus) has created a significant amount of uncertainty for us all. Now more than ever, access to clear and accurate information is vital to help us to make informed decisions about our own health and wellbeing. With that in mind, we're honoured to bring you information from a world-leading psoriasis expert, Professor Chris Griffiths (Professor of Dermatology at the University of Manchester and Honorary Consultant Dermatologist at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust).

    In the video below, our Chief Executive, Helen McAteer, puts some of your most frequently asked questions about psoriasis and COVID-19 to Professor Griffiths.

    Please note that the information in this video is correct as of 30th March 2020.

Am I at higher risk of catching COVID-19 if I have psoriasis?


There is currently no evidence to suggest that people with psoriasis are at any more or less risk of catching COVID-19 than the rest of the population. As such, you should follow the same precautions as issued by the NHS.

What about if I take immunosuppressant medication?


As far as we are aware, if you take an immunosuppressant medication (e.g. methotrexate and ciclosporin) or biologics to treat your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, you may be at extra risk of complications from the virus if you are infected. The specific risk for each individual depends on a number of factors, including: which immunosuppressant medications you are taking; whether you are taking just one of these medications, or more than one; and whether you are also living with other medical issues. You can find out more in our 'shielding' section. 

It is not necessary for you to stop taking your systemic/biologic medication unless specifically told to do so by your prescriber (e.g. dermatologist, rheumatologist, or biologics nurse), and actually to do so could cause a flare in your condition.

If you do have concerns about continuing your medication, you should speak to your prescriber about the risks and benefits before deciding whether or not to stop your treatment.

If you are taking an immunosuppressant medication for psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, and you do develop the symptoms of an infection or virus (such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) you should follow the latest NHS advice and consult your prescriber on whether or not to continue taking your medication.

If at any stage you do need to seek treatment for the symptoms of COVID-19, it is a good idea to make a note of the different medicines you take and the different conditions that you have, and give this to the healthcare staff who are treating you.

The following guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Government may be helpful for reference. They are based on the latest evidence and expert opinion, and have been verified as far as possible.

From the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE):

COVID-19 rapid guideline: dermatological conditions treated with drugs affecting the immune response

COVID-19 rapid guideline: rheumatological autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic bone disorders

COVID-19 rapid guideline: children and young people who are immunocompromised

From the Scottish Government:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Important advice for people with dermatological conditions (not cancerous)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Important advice for people with rheumatic conditions

How can I lower the risk of catching COVID-19?


For the most up-to-date advice on COVID-19 (Coronavirus), you should read the following guidance from:

  • The NHS (UK)
  • The UK Government (UK)
  • The Northern Ireland Executive (Northern Ireland)
  • The Scottish Government (Scotland)
  • The Welsh Government (Wales)

  • According to the latest NHS guidance, to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should avoid close contact with anyone you do not live with. This is called social distancing. Social distancing guidance should be followed as a minimum in all areas of the UK, however further restrictions are currently in place too. You can find out more about the current guidance in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales below.

    England

    In England, new local tiered restrictions replaced national restrictions on Wednesday 2nd December 2020. There are three tiers of restrictions: medium, high and very high. Each tier has its own set of regulations for things you can and cannot do.

    You can find out which tier your local area is in here.

    Certain households can have close contact with one other household (of any size) without social distancing. This is called a support bubble. The eligibility criteria for forming a support bubble was widened on 2nd December 2020. You can find the latest criteria here.

    Between 23rd and 27th December, there will be a temporary change in restrictions for the Christmas period. Between these dates you may form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households. You can only be in one Christmas bubble and, once you have formed your bubble, you cannot change it. You can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble.

    Scotland 

    In Scotland, a system of local COVID protection levels (tiers) is currently in place. Each local area has a COVID protection level and each level has its own set of restrictions for what you can and cannot do. There are 5 different levels, from 0 to 4. The lowest level is 0 and the highest level is 4.

    You can find out about the different COVID protection levels here.

    You can find out the COVID protection level in your local area here.

    If you live alone, you're a single parent who lives with children under the age of 18 (i.e. if there is only one adult in your home), or you are in a relationship, but don't live with your partner, you may form an 'extended household' with the members of 1 other household (of any size). This applies under any COVID protection level.

    Between 23rd and 27th December, there will be a temporary change in restrictions for the Christmas period. Between these dates you may form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households. You can only be in one Christmas bubble and, once you have formed your bubble, you cannot change it. You can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble.

    You can find the full guidance for the festive period here.

    Northern Ireland 

    On Friday 27th November, new restrictions came into force for everyone living in Northern Ireland. You can find a summary of these new restrictions here, and more detailed information here. These restrictions will apply for two weeks, until Friday 11th December.

    Households are still permitted to form a 'support bubble' with one other household without social distancing. A bubble can be formed between two households of any size. However, indoor meetings between households in the bubble are limited to a maximum of 10 people, including children, at any one time.

    Between 23rd and 27th December, there will be a temporary change in restrictions for the Christmas period. Between these dates you may form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households. You can only be in one Christmas bubble and, once you have formed your bubble, you cannot change it. You can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble.

    Wales

    In Wales, national rules are currently in place.

    People are still being asked to stay out of each others' homes, except in very limited circumstances, and to be restrained in how many people they see when they do leave home. Social distancing rules should still be followed at all times when outside of your own household.

    Each household may enter into an extended household (or bubble) with one other household (of any size) without social distancing, although the Welsh Government recommends that you think carefully about this and still take extra care where possible.

    Between 23rd and 27th December, there will be a temporary change in restrictions for the Christmas period. Between these dates you may form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households. You can only be in one Christmas bubble and, once you have formed your bubble, you cannot change it. You can travel between tiers and UK nations for the purposes of meeting your Christmas bubble.


    It's very important to do what you can to reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus. You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.

    To stop COVID-19 from spreading, you should:

  • Try to stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds)
  • Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Emollients can be applied following hand sanitiser use if necessary
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • Wear something that covers your nose and mouth when on public transport, in shops, and when you go to a hospital appointment, or to visit someone in hospital. If you can, also wear a face covering in other places when it's hard to stay away from people.
  • Not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

  • There is separate advice about:

    What to do if you're at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)

COVID-19 vaccine and psoriasis


News of the first COVID-19 vaccine being approved for use in the UK is cause for optimism, however it’s completely understandable that people who are taking immunosuppressive drugs for their psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis may have some concerns about whether or not it is safe for them to receive a vaccine.

We’ve put the following information together to try and address some of the concerns you may have. It’s important to note that we are learning more about both COVID-19 itself and the different vaccines that are being developed all the time. We will ensure that this section is updated regularly as further information is released.

Is a COVID-19 vaccine likely to affect my psoriasis?

There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines are bad for psoriasis (or likely to make it worse, or flare), hence why people are encouraged to have the flu vaccine each year. At this stage, scientists are having to extrapolate data from other vaccines such as the flu vaccine and can see no reason why the COVID-19 vaccine would be any different in terms of flaring/causing psoriasis from, say, the flu vaccine. Systematic reviews have not found evidence that (non-live) vaccines are bad for psoriasis.

Is it safe for people who are taking immunosuppressant medication to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

People receiving drugs that affect the immune system (such as methotrexate and biologic injections, for example), are not able to receive live vaccines, however most of the vaccines in development for COVID-19 are non-live vaccines. Non-live vaccines can generally be given safely to people receiving drugs that affect the immune system (such as methotrexate and biologic injections, for example), however further study is required to understand how well the vaccines work in the context of these medications.

COVID-19 vaccines are currently being tested in late phase clinical trials to make sure they are effective and safe to use. Once the vaccines have been fully tested, public health guidelines will inform which vaccines should be delivered in the population, to whom, when, and how often. For example, vaccinating those at highest risk of severe COVID-19 infection may be prioritised.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine be effective in people who are taking immunosuppressant medication?

The only uncertainty we have with the vaccine(s) is whether it will be as effective in people who are taking immunosuppressive medications (such as methotrexate and biologic injections, for example). Trials do date have not included people taking drugs that affect the immune system and thus vaccine efficacy in this specific population will need to be established.

Will data be collected on the effect of the COVID-19 vaccines on people with psoriasis?

Registry data such as that from the British Association of Dermatologists Biologics and Immunomodulators Register (BADBIR) and PsoProtect should be collected to inform whether the COVID-19 vaccines either positively or negatively affect psoriasis outcomes. In addition, if you have psoriasis yourself, you can self-report to the PsoProtectMe study (whether you have had COVID-19 or not). If you do experience COVID-19 infection then you can also ask your healthcare professional to report this to the PsoProtect registry.

Shielding and advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable


There is specific advice which is intended to protect people who are deemed to be 'clinically extremely vulnerable' to severe illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19 by minimising their interaction with others. If you fall into this ‘clinically extremely vulnerable' category, you should previously have been contacted directly by the NHS or your GP to advise you of this. The latest guidance for 'clinically extremely vulnerable' individuals in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland can be found below.

What is the current guidance for people who are 'clinically extremely vulnerable'?

England

New guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people was introduced on Wednesday 2nd December 2020 to accompany new local tiered restrictions which replaced the national restrictions.

There are three tiers of restrictions: medium, high and very high. Each tier has its own specific advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people, which you can find below.

  • General advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people at all tiers
  • Further advice at Tier 1: Medium
  • Further advice at Tier 2: High
  • Further advice at Tier 3: Very High
  • Shielding - You are not advised to follow this revised shielding advice unless you receive a new shielding notification advising you to do so. Formal shielding measures will be reserved for the worst affected Tier 3 areas, based on advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

  • You can find out which tier your local area is in here.

    The NHS Volunteer Responders programme remains available to help support those who need it. Volunteers can collect and deliver shopping, medication and other essential supplies, help with a regular, friendly phone call, and provide transport to and from medical appointments. Call 0808 196 3646 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week to self-refer or visit www.nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk for further information.

    Between 23rd and 27th December, there will be a temporary change in restrictions for the Christmas period. Between these dates you may form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households.

    Specific advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people regarding Christmas bubbles and the festive period can be found here.

    There may be a lot of expectation and pressure around celebrating Christmas together, but you should feel comfortable to do what is right for you over this period.


Wales

In Wales, shielding was paused on 16th August 2020 and there are no plans for it to resume at this time. Instead, people who are 'extremely vulnerable' are being advised to follow new, less restrictive guidance.

Priority supermarket delivery slots continue to be available to people who are considered extremely vulnerable. If you need further support and you do not have family, friends or neighbours to help you, you should contact your local council.

The Welsh Government will keep a record of everyone on the shielding patients list in case they should need to ask anyone to shield again in future. If shielding does become necessary once again, the Chief Medical Officer for Wales will write to you.

Between 23rd and 27th December, there will be a temporary change in restrictions for the Christmas period. Between these dates you may form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households.

There may be a lot of expectation and pressure around celebrating Christmas together, but you should feel comfortable to do what is right for you over this period.


    Northern Ireland

    In Northern Irelandshielding was paused on 31st July 2020. This means that people who were previously shielding no longer need to follow shielding advice, but should continue to following strict social distancing rules.

    The Chief Medical Officer and his team have looked at this position again in light of the increased numbers of cases of Coronavirus in Northern Ireland, but after careful consideration have decided that shielding should remain paused. This position will, however, be kept under review.

      A free helpline is available to those in vulnerable groups to access information, advice and support in relation to COVID-19, between 9am and 5pm on Monday to Friday. You can access the helpline by phone on 0808 802 0020, email at covid19@adviceni.net, by texting ACTION to 81025, or by completing this form on the Advice NI website.

      Please note that registration for priority online food delivery was suspended on 31st July 2020, however those who registered before this date can continue using the service.

      Between 23rd and 27th December, there will be a temporary change in restrictions for the Christmas period. Between these dates you may form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households.

      There may be a lot of expectation and pressure around celebrating Christmas together, but you should feel comfortable to do what is right for you over this period.


      Scotland

      Scotland currently has a system of local COVID protection levels (tiers) in place. Each local area has a COVID protection level and each level has its own specific guidance on shielding. There are 5 different levels, from 0 to 4. The lowest level is 0 and the highest level is 4.

      You can find out about the different COVID protection levels here.

      You can find out the COVID protection level in your local area here.

      This advice does not apply to anyone living in a residential care or nursing home. Care homes are following the separate guidance for care home settings.

      If you are on the shielding list, you may sign up to receive text message updates from the Scottish Government to alert you when there is increased risk in your area – to sign up send your CHI number (at the top of your shielding letter) to 07860064525.

      You are also encouraged to download the Protect Scotland app to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading again.

      There is a free national COVID-19 helpline available 9am - 5pm on Monday to Friday. Call 0800 111 4000 to access the helpline and speak to someone from your local authority.

      Priority access to online supermarket delivery slots will continue for anyone who had signed up before August, however new registrations to the scheme are no longer being accepted. You can still arrange for your prescription to be delivered

      The Scottish Government will keep its shielding advice under constant review. If they see an increase in infection rates that gives them concern, they may ask you to take extra steps again to stay safe. If so, they’ll let you know by letter and through the text messaging service.

      Between 23rd and 27th December, there will be a temporary change in restrictions for the Christmas period. Between these dates you may form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ composed of people from no more than three households.

      Specific advice on festive household bubbles if you're on the shielding list can be found here.

      There may be a lot of expectation and pressure around celebrating Christmas together, but you should feel comfortable to do what is right for you over this period.


How do I know whether or not I am in the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' category?

If you fall into the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable' category, you should previously have been contacted directly by the NHS or your GP to advise you of this.

If you are only taking a single medication that affects your immune system and have no other medical issues, it is unlikely that you will fall into the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category (highest risk), but you may still be 'clinically vulnerable' (higher risk).

We have put together the following information to help make it clearer for people who are living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis whether or not they fall into this ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category. If you think you fall into this category but you have not received a letter or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician.

In psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, people who are 'clinically extremely vulnerable', and at the highest clinical risk from COVID-19 include:

  • People who have any of the medical conditions on this list from the UK Government (whether they also have psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis or not).
  • People who are taking TWO or more immunosuppressive or biologic medicines (please see the list below) for their psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (except a single biologic in combination with methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine or sulphasalazine).
  • People who take either Infliximab originator (Remicade) or biosimilars (e.g. Flixabi, Inflectra, Remsima, Zessly), which are given by infusion.
  • People who take ONE immunosuppressive or biologic medicine (or a biologic combined with methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine or sulphasalazine) who are ALSO 'clinically vulnerable'.

  • A list of the immunosuppressive and biologic medicines used for psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis:

  • Immunosuppressive medications: Ciclosporin, Fumaric Acid Esters (FAE, Fumaderm and Skilarence – Dimethyl Fumarate), Leflunomide, Methotrexate. This does NOT include Acitretin or Sulphasalazine.
  • Biologics: Any Adalimumab biosimilar (e.g. Amgevita, Hulio, Hyrimoz, Imraldi) or Adalimumab originator (Humira), Anakinra (Kineret), Cimzia (Certolizumab pegol), Cosentyx (Secukinumab), Etanercept originator (Enbrel) or Etanercept biosimilars (e.g. Benepali, Erelzi), Ilumetri (Tildrakizumab), Kyntheum (Brodalumab), Infliximab originator (Remicade) or Infliximab biosimilar (e.g. Flixabi, Inflectra, Remsima, Zessly), Simponi (Golimumab), Skyrizi (Risankizumab), Stelara (Ustekinumab), Taltz (Ixekizumab), Tremfya (Guselkumab)
  • Small molecule immunosuppressants: Otezla (Apremilast), JAK inhibitors e.g. Xeljanz (Tofacitinib)

  • 'Clinically vulnerable' - at a higher clinical risk from COVID-19 (but not the highest risk):

You will be moved up to the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' list ONLY if you meet any of the following criteria AND you are recommended to do so by your clinician:

  • If your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is well controlled with minimal activity, you do not have a health condition which makes you 'clinically vulnerable', and you are taking only ONE of the following: an immunosuppressive medication, a biologic, or a small molecule immunosuppressant (please see the list above for specific examples).
  • If your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is well controlled with minimal activity, you do not have a health condition which makes you 'clinically vulnerable', and you are taking ONE biologic (see list above) in combination with methotrexate.
  • If your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is well controlled with minimal activity, you do not have a health condition which makes you 'clinically vulnerable', and you are taking ONE immunosuppressive medication (see list above) plus Hydroxychloroquine or Sulphasalazine.

  • At no higher risk but should still follow social distancing measures:

You are not in either of the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' or the 'clinically vulnerable' categories, but you must continue to follow the latest NHS advice, including social distancing measures, as per the rest of the UK population, if you are taking any of the following medications, either alone or in combination:

  • Topical skin treatments (creams, gels etc.)
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Acitretin
  • Sulphasalazine

  • The British Association of Dermatologists has put together a useful risk stratification grid, which can be found here.

    If you have psoriatic arthritis, you may also find this risk stratification guide from the British Society for Rheumatology useful if you are taking an immunosuppressant medication and you are unsure whether or not you fall into the 'extremely vulnerable' category.

Finally, full guidance on shielding and protecting people who are 'clinically extremely vulnerable' from COVID-19 can be found here:

What if frequent handwashing irritates my psoriasis?


Unfortunately it is likely that increased handwashing will have an impact on people with psoriasis on their hands. In order to minimise this impact, we have compiled the advice below;

Wash hands with soap and water, then re-wash with an emollient soap substitute

You should follow government guidance and wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds. You may find it helpful to wash them a second time with an emollient soap substitute to help moisturise the skin and prevent it from drying and cracking. A list of soap substitutes or emollient cleaners can be obtained from the Psoriasis Association.

Dry hands gently, and moisturise them afterwards

Keep tubes of moisturiser by the sink at home, as well as in your handbag or pocket.

Wear cotton gloves with moisturiser at night 

Cotton gloves can help moisturiser to penetrate the skin and work more effectively, so consider purchasing a pair and wearing at night, or whilst at home. 

Use gloves when washing up

Use plastic or rubber gloves with cotton linings when doing the washing up or hand washing clothes, this will help to prevent unnecessary drying resulting from activities other than washing your hands. 

Wear gloves during cold weather 

Wear warm gloves when you go out in cold weather, as the cold can be particularly drying to the skin.

Remove jewellery

Wearing rings, watches and other jewellery may aggravate your skin if your psoriasis is already sore from handwashing. Try removing your jewellery for a few days, and see what effect (if any) this has.

Handwashing instructions from the NHS can be found here.

Guidance on face coverings and avoiding irritation of psoriasis


As part of the gradual changes in restrictions, people across the UK are being asked to wear a face covering (something which safely covers the nose and mouth) in certain places where social distancing is very difficult or not possible. However, the specific guidance varies in different parts of the UK. You can find links to the specific guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales below. Each nation's guidance covers instances in which face coverings must be worn, as well as any exemptions.

  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales

  • Exemption card templates are available
    for people who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering and may feel more comfortable showing something that states this. However, this is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.

    Why are we being advised to wear a face covering?

      While evidence suggests that face coverings will not protect you against COVID-19, when used correctly they may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others if you are infected but do not know it. Because face coverings are mainly intended to protect others, not the wearer, they are not a replacement for social distancing and regular hand washing. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.

      Young children or individuals who find it difficult to wear face coverings, such as people with breathing difficulties or primary school children who cannot use a covering without help, are not advised to wear them.

      Wearing a face covering

      A face covering is something which safely covers the nose and mouth while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It should fit securely to the side of the face and be secured to the head with ties or ear loops. It should be made of a material that you find to be comfortable and breathable, such as cotton, and ideally include at least 2 layers of fabric.

      You can buy reusable or single-use face coverings. You may also use a scarf, bandana, religious garment or hand-made cloth covering but these must securely fit round the side of the face. The government has provided advice on how to wear and make your own face covering, which can be found here.

      When applying a face covering, it is important that you wash your hands first (or use hand sanitiser) and avoid touching your face. Once applied, you should avoid wearing it on your neck or forehead and avoid touching the part of the face covering in contact with your mouth and nose, as it could be contaminated with the virus.

      After each use, you should wash or sanitise your hands before removing the covering, using only the straps, ties or ear loops, and put it in a plastic bag for washing or safe disposal. You should then wash or sanitise your hands again. If you plan to re-use the face covering, it should be washed in soap or detergent first, at the highest temperature appropriate for the fabric.

      You can find more detailed instructions on how to wear and remove a face covering here.

      Face coverings and psoriasis

      If you feel that your face covering is irritating your psoriasis, you could try the following:

  • Make sure that the covering is made of a breathable fabric that your skin can tolerate. As with many aspects of psoriasis, this may be a process of trial and error.
  • Whilst the covering needs to be secure, make sure that it is not rubbing or causing injury to the skin as this could trigger psoriasis through Koebner’s phenomenon.
  • Finding the right face covering to lessen irritation may be a process of trial and error. Some people may find wearing a scarf more comfortable if it is for short periods. Or, if you have psoriasis behind your ears it may help to use an extender or adapter to relieve the pressure and attach the covering behind the head. Alternatively, a face covering which ties around the back of the head may be helpful.
  • Keep your skin clean and well moisturised
  • Wash the covering after each use with a detergent that doesn’t irritate your skin.
  • Try to take regular breaks from wearing the face covering.
  • Try to avoid wearing make up in the area under the face covering.
  • If your psoriasis worsens speak to your doctor about your treatment options.

  • For further information and advice on scalp or facial psoriasis, please do get in contact with us.

What research is taking place? Introducing PsoProtect and PsoProtectMe


PsoProtectMe

In the video below, psoriasis experts, Professor Catherine Smith and Dr Satveer Mahil of St John’s Institute of Dermatology in London introduce PsoProtectMe – a new survey to support vital research into COVID-19 and psoriasis.

Questions answered in this video include:

  • What is PsoProtectMe, and why is it important? (0:20)
  • Who should take part in PsoProtectMe? (1:25)
  • How can people take part and what will they need to do? (2:17)
  • Can patients revisit the survey if they catch COVID-19 after completing it initially? (4:12)
  • How will participants’ data be stored and can they withdraw it if they change their mind at a later date? (5:02)

  • The Psoriasis Association is honoured to be collaborating once more with world leading experts on psoriasis at the St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London and the University of Manchester on a vital piece of research regarding psoriasis and COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

    PsoProtectMe (website news)PsoProtectMe is an online survey for people with psoriasis to complete, irrespective of whether you have symptoms of COVID-19 or not. 

    We are asking everyone with psoriasis to complete this important online survey, or to ask a friend or family member to complete it on your behalf. The online PsoProtectMe survey takes only 5-10 minutes to complete and asks about your symptoms, psoriasis treatments and any underlying health conditions you may have. If you have suffered from COVID-19, you will be asked how this has affected you and your psoriasis. If in the future you develop COVID-19 we would ask that you revisit the survey (you will be provided with a unique reference number at the end) and let us know of your experience. 

    Please do complete the survey irrespective of the type or severity of psoriasis you have, whether you are currently treating your psoriasis or not. We need all ages to complete the survey in order to build an accurate picture. 

    Your information will help us understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people with psoriasis, and whether the treatments used for psoriasis increase or decrease the risk of severe COVID-19 infection. This will help healthcare professionals make important decisions about the clinical care of people with psoriasis during the pandemic. Which is why, even if you are well and have not had any symptoms of COVID-19 we really need you to answer this survey call. It could be that your treatment is beneficial in helping protect people from COVID-19 or it could be that one type, or severity of psoriasis affects the body’s response to this virus.   

    Your contribution will benefit everyone – please help by completing the PsoProtectMe survey today.

    Helen McAteer, Chief Executive of the Psoriasis Association commented, “Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has been a worrying time for us all, it has again shown the strength of the psoriasis community that registries such as PsoProtect and now PsoProtectMe have been established so quickly to help further our understanding and treat people with psoriasis and COVID-19. The commitment of the teams at the St John’s Institute of Dermatology and the University of Manchester, with support from the Psoriasis Association is essential to the understanding not just of psoriasis, but all health events that may affect people living with the condition. Please do give 5-10 minutes to complete the survey – your information really is important.”

    PsoProtect

    The Psoriasis Association is pleased to announce its support for PsoProtect, an international registry where health care professionals can report outcomes of COVID-19 infection in people with psoriasis.

    PsoProtect (website news)PsoProtect has been set up by world-leading psoriasis researchers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, and the University of Manchester to capture de-identified information about the outcomes and experiences of individuals with psoriasis who have had COVID-19. This will provide real world information for clinicians to help them assess risk in people with psoriasis. The registry will also help researchers to investigate whether different medicines or co-morbidities of psoriasis affect the outcome of COVID-19 infection.

    This registry will provide a vital clinical and research resource to help in our collective fight against COVID-19 but please note that the registry is for clinicians to submit de-identified data, not patients. However, if you or a family member with psoriasis have had, or get Coronavirus, please do ask your clinician to submit your data to PsoProtect.

    PsoProtect will publish regular summaries and insights from the registry, however, they are unable to provide information on request. The latest data can be found here.

    In October 2020, the first findings from PsoProtect were published. You can find out more here.

Reporting suspected side effects from medicines


Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, patients are currently being asked to submit all suspected side effects of their medicines using the Yellow Card scheme electronically instead of on paper. This is because all Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) staff are working remotely and no longer have access to the MHRA building (since 23rd March) due to the pandemic.

Please note that once the MHRA regains access to its building, it will process any paper suspected side effects reported to the Yellow Card scheme. If you have sent a side effect Yellow Card after 17th March 2020, and you haven’t received an acknowledgement of your report, you may wish to resubmit your suspected side effect electronically.

You can report suspected side effects electronically via:

  • The Yellow Card website
  • The free Yellow Card app (downloadable from the Apple and Google Play stores)
  • Or by calling 0800 731 6789 for free on Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm (you can leave a message outside of these hours and a member of the MHRA team will get back to you.

Useful links


From the NHS:

Please note that this information is correct as of 2nd December 2020. For up to date information, or if you think you may have the symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the latest NHS advice.

    The Psoriasis Association is the UK's leading national charity and membership organisation for people affected by psoriasis – patients, families, carers and health professionals Read More >

    Get in touch

    The Psoriasis Association Dick Coles House 2 Queensbridge Northampton NN4 7BF

    Email: mail@psoriasis-association.org.uk

    Tel :
    01604 251 620
    WhatsApp :
    07387716439
    Registered with Fundraising Regulator -

    © The Psoriasis Association Charitable Incorporated Organisation Number: 1180666 Scotland: SC049563 Privacy PolicyCookies

    Site by Spoken Image | glitterfish

    We use cookies to help us provide you with a better service, but do not track anything that can be used to personally identify you.

    If you prefer us not to set these cookies, please visit our Cookie Settings page or continue browsing our site to accept them.