Can Psoriasis spread?

Answering the question can psoriasis spread involves a proper diagnosis of the psoriasis type and the severity with which the patient is afflicted with the disease. For some, a psoriasis patch may appear on the arm, the knee or the back and spread no further than that one, lone patch. Other people experience outbreaks of additional plaques that can cover up to 70 percent of the body during a flare-up.

Because psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder, the emergence of lesions is produced by faulty internal mechanisms rather than an external irritant, as is the case with the majority of skin problems. This makes psoriasis more unpredictable in regards to its development, although doctors think they now know the predominant factors provoking psoriasis outbreaks and the extent of their severity.



Can Psoriasis Spread Through Direct Contact?

Psoriasis is not contagious. You cannot be infected with a psoriasis "virus" by touching or being around someone with the disorder. Again, psoriasis is the result of the immune system attacking its own body, a complication resulting in excessive production of new skin cells in an attempt to "defend" the body against a disease that does not exist.

These skin cells die faster than the body is able to eliminate them by natural exfoliation. This process causes those thick, raised psoriasis plaques indicative of this disorder to emerge during an outbreak.

Current research points to psoriasis being a highly genetic disorder triggered by a combination of environmental and psychological factors, especially stress. Most patients with psoriasis will have a close family relative affected by the disease as well.


Can Psoriasis Spread By Excessive Scratching?

Psoriasis plaques are inflamed, red and extremely itchy. Patients will scratch so much that lesions eventually start bleeding, causing pain and more inflammation. The bleeding occurs because intense scratching breaks open capillaries lying just below the surface of the plaques. Scratching may cause psoriasis to spread but the main consequence of constant scratching is worsening of pain and irritation.

To stop the potential spread of psoriasis plaques, patients use one or more the following for relief from itching:

  • Antihistamines
  • Moisturizing lotions
  • Topical corticosteroids
  • Capsaicin
  • Topical anesthetics
  • Oatmeal baths (Aveeno bath treatments)
  • Ice packs

Before going to bed at night, psoriasis sufferers will slather lotion on plaques and then cover the treated area with plastic gloves, plastic wrap or socks, depending on where the lesions are affecting the body. This procedure is referred to as "occlusion" and enhances the ability of the cream to inhibit itching.

Can Psoriasis Spread While Taking Medication?


Psoriasis patients react differently to the variety of medications that are available for treatment of psoriasis symptoms. It is possible to be taking a prescription medicine and suddenly experience worsening of plaque lesions. This is due to the unpredictability of the immune system's reaction to foreign substances in the body, especially when dealing with an immune system that is not functioning properly.

Changing medications often counteracts the abrupt exacerbation of psoriasis lesions in patients who had previously been responding well to a certain medication. Currently, around 15 different types of drugs exist for treatment of psoriasis, with many capable of effectively reducing psoriasis symptoms in up to 75 percent of patients.

One side effect of these medications, however, sometimes prevents certain patients from taking them to prevent their psoriasis from spreading. Since these medications target the immune system by suppressing its ability to detect both real and nonexistent infections, that person's ability to fight infections is also reduced.

Frequent respiratory infections are a common side effect experienced by patients taking prescription psoriasis medications, as well as fevers and flu-like symptoms.Although the answer to can psoriasis spread from person to person is a definite no, patients should be aware that it can spread to any part of the body without warning. Taking preventative measures should reduce itching and may help inhibit further growth of lesions.


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