living with plaque psoriasis living with

living with

What should I tell my friends and family?

Talking to friends and family about chronic illness can be challenging, but there are a few tools which may be helpful to use, so you end up having a positive discussion that makes others aware of your condition and how it affects you.

As with many discussions involving difficult topics, choosing the right time can be important. Choosing a time and place you feel comfortable in to discuss it may make things easier for you.17 Planning what you want to say may also help; if you decide the level of detail you want to give for a particular person, and research the facts beforehand to give accurate information, this may improve how well the conversation is received.18 Practicing with a close friend or family member already aware of your condition may help you figure this out.17

Debunking potential misconceptions such as that psoriasis is not contagious may be helpful, expressing how you feel about your psoriasis such as the impact on your stress, and following up the conversation could help, particularly if the first discussion felt awkward23

Talking to people close to you can be a big stress relief, and so being able to be open and honest is an important part of feeling well and dealing with the day-to-day problems your psoriasis may cause.17

Informing family and friends of the kind of treatment you’re receiving, what the possible side effects are, and what you require in terms of medication storage may also be helpful, so they understand if you experience side effects and what they should or should not do with your medication, such as they shouldn’t take it out of the fridge.

What should I tell people at work?

When applying for a job, you do not have to disclose your condition, and the prospective employer cannot ask you about any health conditions or sickness absence you may have had. If you require a medical examination or questionnaire upon being offered a job, the offer will be withdrawn only if they can prove you won’t be able to do your work after reasonable adjustments are implemented.19 If you decide to tell your current employer about your psoriasis, they must follow the Equality Act 2010 and implement reasonable adjustments to help you manage your condition at work.19

The decision to tell your managers and colleagues about your psoriasis is entirely your own. You may not wish to if your psoriasis is well-controlled, but if your flare-ups are frequent, severe and / or visible, it may be useful to do so to avoid misunderstandings, address social concerns and stigma, and enable reasonable adjustments to support you.20

Communication is key, so managers and co-workers understand your condition and so adjustments can be made. Think carefully about when to discuss your psoriasis and research beforehand, so you can suggest changes that could be made to help you become more productive.21

If you meet with your manager when neither of you are under pressure, you may feel more comfortable and they may be more receptive. Describe simply and plainly your symptoms and frame the discussion in terms of how reasonable adjustments such as assistive devices or scheduled skin care routines will not only benefit you, but your colleagues and the company, through increased wellbeing and productivity.21

If your colleagues understand your condition and how it affects you, they may be more accepting when your psoriasis interferes with your ability to work. If you feel like work is too difficult, try to help people understand that pushing through the pain may trigger exhaustion and stress, worsening your psoriasis and your productivity in the long-term.21

What should I tell my healthcare professional?

You may have questions about your condition or your treatment when talking to your healthcare professional. These could include:22

  • Can you tell me why you have decided to offer me this particular type of treatment?
  • What are the risks and benefits of this treatment?
  • Is there any other treatment that I should not use while using this treatment?
  • If I am unwell should I stop this treatment?
  • What should I do if I get any side effects? (Who should be my first point of contact, for example, should I call my GP, my dermatology nurse specialist or go to the accident and emergency (A&E) department at a hospital?)
  • Can you provide any information or advice for my family or carers?
  • Is there anyone I can talk to about my feelings about plaque psoriasis?
  • Is there some other information (a leaflet or website) to help me understand my plaque psoriasis?

There are certain situations where you should contact your healthcare professional. Tell your healthcare professional:

  • If you experience side effects (this includes any possible side effects not listed in the side effects section or the Patient Information Leaflet)
  • If your plaque psoriasis is not improving