Guttate psoriasis, also known as “eruptive psoriasis” is the second most common type of psoriasis. It presents as small salmon-like lesions usually with fine scale about o.5 to 1.5 in diameter over the back, the trunk, upper leg, and upper arm. But in some cases, it may occur in any other parts of the body.
Guttate psoriasis often starts in childhood and occurs most frequently in young adults. About 10% of the population with psoriasis has guttate psoriasis as their presentation. This type of psoriasis at times precedes or co-exists with other presentations of psoriasis such as plaque.
Along with the other forms of psoriasis, guttate psoriasis is categorized as auto-immune disease. Certain theories also link hereditary and familial factors as a related factor.
Guttate psoriasis, like any other forms of psoriasis is “triggered” before it flares up. The triggers are of diverse variety. Here is a list of known triggers of guttate psoriasis.
- Streptococcal infections
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Viral infections such as measles and chicken pox
- Trauma or injury to the skin
- Drugs such as anti-malarial and beta blockers
Signs and Symptoms
In most cases, an upper respiratory infection, tonsillitis, or strep throat precedes the occurrence of guttate psoriasis. After the infection has cleared, the patient usually feels fine for about two weeks before the red patches are observed.
The lesions appear in small quantities at first. The dry, red, itchy spots when scratched or picked, reveal red and white dry skin beneath the top layer. This is where the flakes form along the borders. In the following weeks, the spots can grow to up to an inch in diameter. In some areas, the spots form a pale area with the center slightly yellow in color.
Various treatment methods are used in the management of flare-ups of guttate psoriasis. The response to these methods varies with every patient. It is imperative to use this regimen in accordance with the approval of the physician or dermatologist.
Here are the different treatments for guttate psoriasis:
- Phototherapy – Using ultraviolet light B (UVB) or light sensitizing drug Psoralen plus ultraviolet A (PUVA) procedures are often considered to be the preferred and most effective choice in the treatment of guttate psoriasis. Phototherapy can also be done through exposure to early morning sunlight but with sunburn precautions.
- Hydrocortisone – Mild corticosteroids such as this are used to manage guttate psoriasis with varying results.
- Systemic medications – This method is only conducted for severe cases of guttate psoriasis. It is considered as a last resort. Route for administration is given orally or through injection. In some cases, using this method results in rapid and prolonged clearing of the signs and symptoms.
- Emollients – These topical medications are used for symptomatic treatment.
- Anti-bacterial drugs – In some cases where the lesions may show bacteria involvement and inflammation, antibiotics may be prescribed.
It is constantly advised to consult the physician on a regular basis to ensure proper assessment and monitoring of the signs and symptoms and severity of psoriasis.
Being equipped with the necessary information regarding guttate psoriasis is also helpful in the understanding, management, and controlling of the condition.