It’s bad enough seeing adults affected by this illness, but when a child looks at you for an explanation as to why this has occurred I often feel speechless as no words can justify why they are going through this.
Often I reflect back to how i felt as a child dealing with all the uncertainties and the look of fear can be similarly seen in my young patients.
What can be more of a concern, especially for parents, is the recommended use of steroid creams. Told of all the potential side effects, many parents come to my clinic hopeful of an alternative that will help their child without nasty side effects. Here are my recommendations for children with psoriasis:
- Nutrition - their diet must be altered to eliminate foods and drinks that increase inflammation in the body.
- Processed/canned foods
- Greasy/fatty foods
- Spicy/hot foods
- Plenty of green vegetables (you may need to disguise them)
- Fresh oily fish such as salmon (you can make salmon patties)
- Drink 1-2 liters of filtered water
- Changing their diet may take time but if you have resistance perhaps discuss how they feel after they eat the food that is pro-inflammatory. Often children need to understand why they need to do something so to help them see the benefit.
- Encourage healthier eating in the entire family as the dietary recommendations are beneficial for everyone regardless of age
- Don’t have temptations in the fridge or pantry. Your child is struggling enough with the illness, the last thing they need is to have temptation staring at them every time they are hungry
- Bathing for topical relief - as the skin can get quite itchy, i recommend a lukewarm bath with oatmeal powder in it. This can reduce the itchiness in the skin. Alternatively, buying a quality dead sea salt bath crystals can reduce the inflammation in the skin. If you prefer you can soak a cloth in warm water that has the oatmeal or dead sea salt and apply it directly on the affected area
- Talk to your child - if you child is young this may not apply but any child of school age can be dealing with a stressful situation at school. Most kids avoid telling adults as they don’t want to get in trouble or internalise their pain hoping the issue will just go away. We all know that they often don’t so keep the communication ongoing as stress from school yard issues can have a profound affect to the mental health of a child which offsets on to their health
Parenting a child that is ill can be very challenging for you and the entire family.
Having a supportive network of people around you that you can talk to and discuss your struggles can help you to cope which further helps your child find strength.
I remember my teenage years being the most difficult due to the issues i had to deal with as a result of having psoriasis.
But i can honestly say now that it has helped me immensely grow as a person and also have great empathy for others as well as being passionate to help those struggling with psoriasis as i once did. Remember all obstacles in life are here to Teach us not break us.