Covid-19 information

Useful information and resources to help you during the coronavirus pandemic – for people with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis at any stage in the treatment pathway.

Graphic of green virus cells on top of speech bubbles

How could this COVID-19 information help?

COVID-19 has impacted all of our lives in many ways, including our ability to access healthcare services and how people are able to manage their health conditions.

It can be difficult to navigate through the information being shared online and by word of mouth and to separate fact from fiction. Therefore, we’ve interviewed UK healthcare experts in psoriasis to help you understand how these changes might affect you, and provided a Q&A on the key information you might need to know below.

While some of the interviews and Q&As may be relevant for people with psoriatic arthritis, their focus is on providing advice to people with psoriasis.

Expert advice

Watch the videos below, which include information on how COVID-19 spreads, how to manage your condition and treatments, and how to look after your wellbeing in this challenging time, from UK healthcare experts who specialise in psoriasis.

Dr Chris Griffiths - Foundation Professor of Dermatology

Dr Chris Griffiths – Professor of Dermatology at the University of Manchester – answering Covid-19 and dermatology FAQs Circular video play icon

How could I reduce my risk of spreading COVID-19?

Could I pass it on even if I don’t have symptoms?

Dr Chris Griffiths answering whether patients on immunosuppressive agents/biologics should self-isolate during Covid-19 Circular video play icon

Is there anything about COVID-19 I should know if I have psoriasis?

Should I self-isolate?

How can I access healthcare?

Dr Chris Griffiths answering whether one should avoid any medications in light of the risk of Covid-19 Circular video play icon

Are there any medications which could make me more likely to get severe coronavirus symptoms?

Dr Chris Griffiths providing information on Covid-19 and dermatology resources Circular video play icon

Where can I learn more about COVID-19, as someone with a skin condition?

Dr Christine Bundy - Professor of Behavioural Medicine

Dr Christine Bundy providing top tips for managing your well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic Circular video play icon

How can I look after my psychological wellbeing and be kind to myself?

For more useful information about looking after your lifestyle and wellbeing...

COVID-19 Q&A

Infection with COVID-19 can cause various symptoms, which could be mild or severe; different people may feel ill in different ways.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of smell
  • Body ache

Some people get more severe symptoms which may indicate pneumonia, such as:

  • High fever
  • Severe Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Some people experience gastrointestinal symptoms:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort

COVID-19 can also cause neurological symptoms in some people, which affect brain function:

  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Seizures
  • Stroke

People with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis are not known to be more at risk of being infected by COVID-19 or of severe illness if they are infected. If you are on medication which suppresses your immune system (immunosuppressants), please read the guidance in the next Q&A below. Otherwise, you should follow the public guidance provided by the UK government and the NHS.

If you are on immunosuppressant medication, you should have received a letter from your GP surgery and dermatology department, advising you on your level of risk and whether you should self-isolate until further notice, even if you don’t have COVID-19 symptoms. You should follow the guidance provided by your healthcare professional. The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) have provided guidance to healthcare professionals on how to manage their patients with psoriasis who are on immunosuppressant medication, which is summarised below.

BAD guidance

People with ‘moderate risk’ should be especially careful to follow the government guidance on social distancing (which classifies people who take immunosuppressants as ‘vulnerable people’). You would be at moderate risk if you meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • You do not have any of the following risk factors for more severe illness:
    Over 70 years’ old, diabetes mellitus, pregnancy, any pre-existing lung disease (e.g. asthma on medication), chronic kidney disease, any history of ischaemic heart disease or hypertension on treatment, or other factors your healthcare professional judges to be a risk.
  • Your condition is well-controlled with your medication; this means you have no or minimal symptoms of psoriasis
  • You are taking just one type of immunosuppressant (aside from rituximab or infliximab), OR
  • You are taking a biologic (aside from rituximab or infliximab), plus a standard dose of methotrexate, OR
  • You are taking just one standard oral immunosuppressant (such as methotrexate, azathioprine or ciclosporin) plus hydroxychloroquine or sulfasalazine.

People with ‘high risk’ should shield themselves (i.e. self-isolate until further notice). This advice applies if you meet ANY of the following criteria:

  • You are taking two types of immunosuppressant medication, other than those combinations listed in the ‘moderate risk’ advice above
  • You are using a corticosteroid (e.g. prednisolone) at a dose of 20 mg or more, or 0.5mg/kg or more, per day for more than 4 weeks
  • You are using a corticosteroid (e.g. prednisolone) at a dose of 5 mg or more per day for more than 4 weeks, plus at least one other immunosuppressant medication
  • You have taken cyclophosphamide at any dose orally, or if you have received it as an intravenous (IV) dose within last 6 months
  • If you are taking rituximab or infliximab for your psoriasis

You shouldn’t stop taking your medication, or change how much you take, unless advised to do so by your healthcare professional.

Contact your healthcare professional if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or any other infection.

You shouldn’t need to stop taking any medications unless specifically advised by your healthcare professional.

Ibuprofen has been discussed a lot in the media, but there is currently no evidence to suggest that it can make COVID-19 infection worse. Some healthcare professionals have recommended taking paracetamol to manage fever and other symptoms instead.

Across the country, routine face-to-face clinical appointments have been cancelled for the safety of public health, including in dermatology departments. Many departments now run remote clinics, where you talk with a consultant or nurse over the phone instead. However, access to remote consultations will vary depending on your local department’s capacity, which is likely to be reduced due to doctors and nurses moving to the frontline to care for patients with COVID-19 infection.

It may be possible to still have blood tests; your healthcare professional can provide more guidance on this and how to access services while following the appropriate social distancing and shielding measures that apply to you.

See the links below for more COVID-19-related resources - from government advice to looking after your wellbeing.

UK Government

All official government advice for COVID-19: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

NHS UK

Advice for everyone, for those at high-risk, what to do if you have symptoms and self-isolation: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Frequently asked questions in relation to dermatology and COVID-19:
https://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/our-services/dermatology/dermatology-and-coronavirus-frequently-asked-questions.aspx#na

NHS UK and Every Mind Matters

Looking after your mental wellbeing while staying at home:
https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

British Association of Dermatologists (BAD)

Advice on hand-washing for people with dry skin on their hands:
https://www.skinhealthinfo.org.uk/statement-on-coronavirus-and-skin-disease-affecting-the-hands/

Top self-care tips
while staying at home

Supporting you to feel comfortable in your own skin