First published on Thursday 5th March 2020, LAST UPDATED on Friday 26th June 2020.
Information for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, including those taking immunosuppressive medicines
For the most up-to-date advice on COVID-19 (Coronavirus), you should read the guidance on the NHS website.
- Video - Professor Chris Griffiths on COVID-19 and psoriasis
- Resource - Hints and tips for coping well with the COVID-19 pandemic from Professor Chris Bundy
- Am I at higher risk of catching COVID-19 if I have psoriasis?
- What about if I take immunosuppressant medication?
- How can I lower the risk of catching COVID-19?
- What is 'shielding' and does this apply to me?
- What if frequent handwashing irritates my psoriasis?
- Guidance on face coverings and avoiding irritation of psoriasis
- What research is taking place? Introducing PsoProtect & PsoProtectMe
- Resource - Preparing for a virtual consultation
- Resource - Eating well during this challenging time
- Reporting suspected side effects from medicines
- Useful resources
Video - Professor Chris Griffiths on COVID-19 and psoriasis
The current situation with COVID-19 (coronavirus) has created a significant amount of uncertainty for us all. Now more than ever, access to clear and accurate information is vital to help us to make informed decisions about our own health and wellbeing. With that in mind, we're honoured to bring you information from a world-leading psoriasis expert, Professor Chris Griffiths (Professor of Dermatology at the University of Manchester and Honorary Consultant Dermatologist at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust).
In the video below, our Chief Executive, Helen McAteer, puts some of your most frequently asked questions about psoriasis and COVID-19 to Professor Griffiths.
Please note that the information in this video is correct as of 30th March 2020.
Resource - Hints and tips for coping well with the COVID-19 pandemic
With the current Coronavirus outbreak dominating the headlines it is not surprising that people are feeling anxious and worried about what may happen next. For some people with psoriasis, stress can make the condition flare, so looking after your psychological wellbeing is as important as caring for your physical health.
With this in mind, we have teamed up with Professor Chris Bundy (Professor in Behavioural Medicine at Cardiff University) to create a resource for people living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis on how to manage their worry about their condition and its treatment, as well as their concerns about COVID-19.
The tips cover a range of topics including managing your worry, expressing worry and anxiety, coping with isolation and when to access help and support. There is also a daily schedule, to help people to structure their day and stay engaged and active whilst spending more time at home.
Click below to access the relevant documents;
Hints and tips for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
Am I at higher risk of catching COVID-19 if I have psoriasis?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that people with psoriasis are at any more or less risk of catching COVID-19 than the rest of the population. As such, you should follow the same precautions as issued by the NHS.
What about if I take an immunosuppressant medication?
As far as we are aware, if you take an immunosuppressant medication (e.g. methotrexate and ciclosporin) or biologics to treat your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, you may be at extra risk of complications from the virus if you are infected. The specific risk for each individual depends on a number of factors, including: which immunosuppressant medications you are taking; whether you are taking just one of these medications, or more than one; and whether you are also living with other medical issues. You can find out more in our 'shielding' section.
It is not necessary for you to stop taking your systemic/biologic medication unless specifically told to do so by your prescriber (e.g. dermatologist, rheumatologist, or biologics nurse), and actually to do so could cause a flare in your condition.
If you do have concerns about continuing your medication, you should speak to your prescriber about the risks and benefits before deciding whether or not to stop your treatment.
If you are taking an immunosuppressant medication for psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, and you do develop the symptoms of an infection or virus (such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) you should follow the latest NHS advice and consult your prescriber on whether or not to continue taking your medication.
If at any stage you do need to seek treatment for the symptoms of COVID-19, it is a good idea to make a note of the different medicines you take and the different conditions that you have, and give this to the healthcare staff who are treating you.
The following guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Scottish Government may be helpful for reference. They are based on the latest evidence and expert opinion, and have been verified as far as possible.
From the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE):
COVID-19 rapid guideline: dermatological conditions treated with drugs affecting the immune response
COVID-19 rapid guideline: rheumatological autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic bone disorders
COVID-19 rapid guideline: children and young people who are immunocompromised
From the Scottish Government:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Important advice for people with dermatological conditions (not cancerous)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Important advice for people with rheumatic conditions
How can I lower the risk of catching COVID-19?
For the most up-to-date advice on COVID-19 (Coronavirus), you should read the following guidance from:
- The NHS (UK)
- Public Health England (England)
- The Northern Ireland Executive (Northern Ireland)
- The Scottish Government (Scotland)
- The Welsh Government (Wales)
According to the latest NHS guidance, to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), you should avoid close contact with anyone you do not live with. This is called social distancing.
In England, if you live alone or you’re a single parent who lives alone with your children, you can now meet with 1 other household without social distancing. This is called a support bubble. The same measure applies in Scotland but is called an 'extended household' rather than a support bubble.
In Northern Ireland, people who live alone are permitted to form a 'support bubble' with one other household (of any size) without social distancing.
In Wales, from 6th July two households will be allowed to join together to form an 'extended household' without social distancing. All the occupants of the two households will be part of the extended household, no matter how many people are in either household.
It's very important to do what you can to reduce the risk of you and other people getting ill with coronavirus. You can spread the virus even if you do not have symptoms.
To stop COVID-19 from spreading, you should:
- Stay at least 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone you do not live with (or anyone not in your support bubble)
- Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds)
- Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available. Emollients can be applied following hand sanitiser use if necessary
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Wear something that covers your nose and mouth when on public transport and when you go to a hospital appointment, or to visit someone in hospital. If you can, also wear a face covering in other places when it's hard to stay away from people, such as in shops.
- Not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
For more information about how to avoid getting and spreading coronavirus, see the UK Government's guidance on staying safe outside your home.
For more detailed information about what you can and cannot do outside your home, please refer to the UK Government's full guidance on social distancing and Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do.
There is separate advice about:
What to do if you're at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
What is 'shielding' and does this apply to me?
'Shielding' is a measure which is intended to protect people who are deemed to be 'clinically extremely vulnerable' to severe illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19 by minimising their interaction with others. If you fall into this ‘clinically extremely vulnerable' category, you should have been contacted directly by the NHS and initially advised to stay at home for a period of at least 12 weeks (until 30th June 2020) and avoid any face-to-face contact with others.
What is the current shielding guidance?
As of Monday 1st June 2020, people in England who are shielding can now leave the house once a day with members of their own household or, if they live alone, meet one person from another household outdoors (ideally the same person each time). Social distancing must be maintained at all times. However, if you are shielding you are still strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible and keep visits outside to a minimum. Current shielding guidance in England will remain in place until Monday 6th July 2020, when some measures will start to be relaxed (please see below).
From Monday 6th July 2020:
- People in England who are shielding can, if they wish, meet in a group of up to 6 people outdoors, including people from different households, while maintaining strict social distancing.
- People in England who are shielding will no longer need to observe social distancing with members of their own household.
- If you are shielding and an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18, you may from this date, form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other's homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance.
- All the other current shielding advice in England will remain unchanged until 31st July.
From Saturday 1st August 2020:
- The advice to ‘shield’ will be paused in England. From this date, the Government is advising you to adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures. Strict social distancing means you may wish to go out to more places and see more people but you should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside your household or support bubble.
- People in England who have been shielding can go to work, if they cannot work from home, as long as the workplace is COVID-safe.
- Children who are clinically extremely vulnerable can return to their education settings if they are eligible and in line with their peers. Where possible children should practice frequent hand washing and social distancing.
- People in England who have been shielding can go outside to buy food, to places of worship and for exercise but should maintain strict social distancing.
- People in England who have been shielding should remain cautious as you are still at risk of severe illness if you catch Coronavirus, so the advice is to stay at home where possible and, if you do go out, follow strict social distancing.
- The food and medicine boxes facilitated by the National Shielding Service will stop as of 1st August as individuals who have been shielding are advised they can visit shops and pharmacies. However, other forms of support – such as priority supermarket delivery slots and the NHS Volunteers Scheme, amongst a range of local volunteer schemes – will continue. If an individual is concerned about support after 1st August, they should contact their local authority.
- The categorisation of ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will remain in place and people in this cohort should continue to follow the guidance specific to them, available here. After 1st August, the Government will continue to maintain the Shielded Patient List. They will monitor the virus continuously over coming months and if it spreads too much, they may need to advise this group to shield again.
Shielding guidance has been and continues to be advisory. Everybody in the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ categorisation will be written to outlining the steps detailed above.
In Wales, from Monday 1st June 2020, people who are shielding may now leave the house locally for unlimited outdoor exercise and can also meet outside with people from another household as long as social distancing is maintained. Current shielding guidance in Wales will remain in place until at least 16th August 2020 and no changes to the guidance beyond this date have yet been announced.
In Northern Ireland, updates to the shielding guidance were announced on Monday 8th June 2020. People in Northern Ireland who are shielding may now go outdoors either alone or with members of their own household. If they live alone, they can meet one person from another household outdoors (ideally the same person each time). Social distancing must be maintained at all times. Current shielding guidance in Northern Ireland will remain in place until Monday 6th July 2020, when some measures will start to be relaxed (please see below).
From Monday 6th July 2020:
- If the risk continues to be low, people who are following the shielding advice in Northern Ireland will be able to meet up to six people outside of their home, as long as social distancing is strictly observed.
- If you are shielding alone in Northern Ireland, from this date you will also be able to form a 'support bubble' with one other household. Social distancing will not be required with the other household in your bubble; this will allow you to visit, stay over and spend more time with the second household. The second household can be of any size but both households should not be part of more than one bubble and should continue to socially distance outside the bubble.
From Friday 31st July:
- It is anticipated that shielding for extremely vulnerable people in Northern Ireland will be paused. More information about this can be found here.
- Further letters will be issued to all those who have been advised to shield in Northern Ireland, with details of the change and ways you can continue to get the help you need.
In Scotland, as of 18th June 2020, individuals who are shielding may leave the house to exercise or meet with people from another household in small groups outdoors, as long as social distancing is maintained at all times. There are no limits on the number of times you can go out, or for how long you can stay out, however you are still strongly advised to stay at home as much as possible. For now, people living in a residential care or nursing home are advised to remain indoors and not meet up with other people. Shielding guidance in Scotland will remain in place until at least 31st July 2020 and no changes to the guidance beyond this date have yet been announced.
How do I know whether or not I should be shielding?
If you fall into the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable' category, you should have been contacted directly by the NHS and initially advised to stay at home for a period of at least 12 weeks (until 30th June 2020) and avoid any face-to-face contact with others.
If you are only taking a single medication that affects your immune system and have no other medical issues, it is unlikely that you will fall into the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category requiring shielding, but very careful social distancing is advised.
We have put together the following information to help make it clearer for people who are living with psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis whether or not they fall into this ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ category. If you think you fall into the 'clinically extremely vulnerable' category but you have not received a letter or been contacted by your GP, you should discuss your concerns with your GP or hospital clinician
In psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, people who are 'clinically extremely vulnerable', at the highest clinical risk from COVID-19 and will definitely be advised to 'shield' include:
- People who have any of the medical conditions on this list from the UK Government (whether they also have psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis or not).
- People who are taking TWO or more immunosuppressive or biologic medicines (please see the list below) for their psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (except a single biologic in combination with methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine or sulphasalazine).
- People who take either Infliximab originator (Remicade) or biosimilars (e.g. Flixabi, Inflectra, Remsima, Zessly), which are given by infusion.
- People who take ONE immunosuppressive or biologic medicine (or a biologic combined with methotrexate, hydroxychloroquine or sulphasalazine) who are ALSO 'clinically vulnerable' as defined by this list.
A list of the immunosuppressive and biologic medicines used for psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis:
- Immunosuppressive medications: Ciclosporin, Fumaric Acid Esters (FAE, Fumaderm and Skilarence – Dimethyl Fumarate), Leflunomide, Methotrexate. This does NOT include Acitretin or Sulphasalazine.
- Biologics: Any Adalimumab biosimilar (e.g. Amgevita, Hulio, Hyrimoz, Imraldi) or Adalimumab originator (Humira), Anakinra (Kineret), Cimzia (Certolizumab pegol), Cosentyx (Secukinumab), Etanercept originator (Enbrel) or Etanercept biosimilars (e.g. Benepali, Erelzi), Ilumetri (Tildrakizumab), Kyntheum (Brodalumab), Infliximab originator (Remicade) or Infliximab biosimilar (e.g. Flixabi, Inflectra, Remsima, Zessly), Simponi (Golimumab), Skyrizi (Risankizumab), Stelara (Ustekinumab), Taltz (Ixekizumab), Tremfya (Guselkumab)
- Small molecule immunosuppressants: Otezla (Apremilast), JAK inhibitors e.g. Xeljanz (Tofacitinib)
'Clinically vulnerable' - at a higher clinical risk from COVID-19 (but not the highest risk) - Very careful social distancing is advised - Advised to 'shield' only if there are other concerns, high-risk circumstances or comorbidities (to be decided by your clinician):
You will be asked to 'shield' if you meet any of the following criteria AND you are recommended to do so by your clinician:
- If your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is well controlled with minimal activity, you have none of the comorbidities listed here, and you are taking only ONE of the following: an immunosuppressive medication, a biologic, or a small molecule immunosuppressant (please see the list above for specific examples).
- If your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is well controlled with minimal activity, you have none of the comorbidities listed here, and you are taking ONE biologic (see list above) in combination with methotrexate.
- If your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is well controlled with minimal activity, you have none of the comorbidities listed here, and you are taking ONE immunosuppressive medication (see list above) plus Hydroxychloroquine or Sulphasalazine.
No need to 'shield' but should still follow social distancing measures:
There is no need to 'shield', but you must continue to follow the latest NHS advice, including social distancing measures, as per the rest of the UK population, if you are taking any of the following medications, either alone or in combination:
- Topical skin treatments (creams, gels etc.)
The British Association of Dermatologists have put together a useful FAQ section here that includes the following examples:
Examples of the type of patient who would NOT be advised to self-isolate are:
- A person with hidradenitis on Humira (adalimumab) who is 45 and has none of the described comorbidities.
- A person who is 50, on methotrexate up to 25 mg per week, and Humira (adalimumab).
- A person who is 57, on hydroxychloroquine and mycophenolate mofetil and has no other comorbidities.
Examples of the type of patient who WOULD be advised to self-isolate
- A person on any single agent biologic - e.g. you are only using one biologic such as Humira (Adalimumab) or Cosentyx (Secukinumab) at a standard dose, who is more than 70 years old.
- A person on any single agent biologic at a standard dose, who is on medication for hypertension or diabetes or asthma or Ischaemic Heart Disease, or who is pregnant.
- A person on a single agent biologic at a standard dose, with renal (kidney) impairment.
- A person on a single agent biologic at a standard dose, and up to 25mg weekly of methotrexate, who develops any medical problems described in the above three points.
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust have also put together some Dermatology and coronavirus frequently asked questions. These include a number of FAQs specifically about immunosuppressant medications, social distancing, shielding, and a handy self-assessment risk calculator. Please note, while this resource contains really useful information for everyone, please only contact Guy's and St Thomas' if you are already one of their patients.
If you have psoriatic arthritis, you may also find this risk stratification guide from the British Society for Rheumatology useful if you are taking an immunosuppressant medication and you are unsure whether or not you fall into the 'extremely vulnerable' category requiring 'shielding'.
The Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA) has produced a handy resource on 'making decisions about shielding' with a particular focus on the updated shielding guidance from 6th July 2020 in England.
Finally, full guidance on shielding to protect 'extremely vulnerable' people can be found here:
- Public Health England guidance (England)
- Northern Ireland Executive guidance (Northern Ireland)
- Scottish Government guidance (Scotland)
- Welsh Government guidance (Wales)
What if frequent handwashing irritates my psoriasis?
Unfortunately it is likely that increased handwashing will have an impact on people with psoriasis on their hands. In order to minimise this impact, we have compiled the advice below:
Wash hands with soap and water, then re-wash with an emollient soap substitute.
You should follow government guidance and wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds. You may find it helpful to wash them a second time with an emollient soap substitute to help moisturise the skin and prevent it from drying and cracking. A list of soap substitutes or emollient cleaners can be obtained from the Psoriasis Association.
Dry hands gently, and moisturise them afterwards.
Keep tubes of moisturiser by the sink at home, as well as in your handbag or pocket.
Wear cotton gloves with moisturiser at night
Cotton gloves can help moisturiser to penetrate the skin and work more effectively, so consider purchasing a pair and wearing at night, or whilst at home.
Use gloves when washing up
Use plastic or rubber gloves with cotton linings when doing the washing up or hand washing clothes, this will help to prevent unnecessary drying resulting from activities other than washing your hands.
Wear gloves during cold weather
Wear warm gloves when you go out in cold weather, as the cold can be particularly drying to the skin.
Wearing rings, watches and other jewellery may aggravate your skin if your psoriasis is already sore from handwashing. Try removing your jewellery for a few days, and see what effect (if any) this has.
Handwashing instructions from the NHS can be found here.
Guidance on face coverings and avoiding irritation of psoriasis
As part of the gradual changes in lockdown restrictions, people in England are now being recommended to wear face coverings in a number of enclosed spaces. In particular, face coverings are advised in areas where you come into contact with people that you do not normally meet and where social distancing is not possible, for example on public transport or in some shops.
From 15th June, all passengers on public transport in England must wear a face covering and will not be allowed to travel without one. Face coverings - which can be homemade - must be worn on buses, trams, trains, coaches, aircraft and ferries. Very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties will be exempt from this rule.
From 15th June, all hospital visitors and outpatients in England will also be required to wear face coverings, while all hospital staff will be required to wear surgical masks under all circumstances.
The Scottish Government is supporting the use of face coverings in certain circumstances where social distancing is more difficult or not possible, and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people who are not members of your household. Examples include: entering shops or businesses; visits to a care home for the elderly; visits to adult hospitals as an outpatient; and GP surgeries or pharmacies where it is not always possible to maintain a 2 metre distance from other people.
From 29th June, people in Scotland must by law wear a face covering on public transport and in public transport premises. This guidance includes travel by train, subway, bus, tram, ferry and airline services as well as when using taxis and private hire vehicles. The public transport premises include bus stations, train stations and airports.
The Northern Ireland Executive is currently recommending that people should consider wearing face coverings in enclosed spaces, in particular where social distancing is difficult or not possible (such as on public transport and in some shops). However, the use of face coverings is not mandatory.
At the time of writing, the Welsh Government recommends that people in Wales wear three-layer face coverings in environments where social distancing is more difficult (such as on public transport). However, wearing face coverings whenever you leave home is a matter of personal choice and is not mandatory.
Why are we being advised to wear a face covering?
While evidence suggests that face coverings will not protect you against COVID-19, they may help protect others if you are infected but do not know it. Please note that face coverings do not replace social distancing and if you have symptoms of COVID-19 your whole household must stay at home.
Children under the age of 3 or individuals who find it difficult to wear face coverings, such as people with breathing difficulties or primary school children who cannot use a covering without help, are not advised to wear them.
Wearing a face covering
A face covering can simply be a scarf or bandana tied behind your head – the most important thing is that it covers your nose and mouth but allows you to breathe comfortably. The government has provided advice on how to wear and make your own face covering, which can be found here.
When applying a face covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, the covering should be removed using only the straps or ear pieces and put in a plastic bag for washing or safe disposal. You should then wash your hands and face. If you plan to re-use the face covering, it should be washed in soap or detergent first, and preferably with hot water (the Scottish Government recommends at 60 degrees centigrade).
Face coverings and psoriasis
If you feel that your face covering is irritating your psoriasis, you could try the following:
- Make sure that the covering is made of a breathable fabric that your skin can tolerate. As with many aspects of psoriasis, this may be a process of trial and error.
- Whilst the covering needs to be secure, make sure that it is not rubbing or causing injury to the skin as this could trigger psoriasis through Koebner’s phenomenon.
- Keep your skin clean and well moisturised
- Wash the covering after each use with a detergent that doesn’t irritate your skin.
- Try to take regular breaks from wearing the face covering.
For further information and advice on scalp or facial psoriasis, please do get in contact with us.
What research is taking place? Introducing PsoProtect and PsoProtectMe
In the video below, psoriasis experts, Professor Catherine Smith and Dr Satveer Mahil of St John’s Institute of Dermatology in London introduce PsoProtectMe – a new survey to support vital research into COVID-19 and psoriasis.
Questions answered in this video include:
- What is PsoProtectMe, and why is it important? (0:20)
- Who should take part in PsoProtectMe? (1:25)
- How can people take part and what will they need to do? (2:17)
- Can patients revisit the survey if they catch COVID-19 after completing it initially? (4:12)
- How will participants’ data be stored and can they withdraw it if they change their mind at a later date? (5:02)
The Psoriasis Association is honoured to be collaborating once more with world leading experts on psoriasis at the St John’s Institute of Dermatology, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London and the University of Manchester on a vital piece of research regarding psoriasis and COVID-19 (coronavirus).
PsoProtectMe is an online survey for people with psoriasis to complete, irrespective of whether you have symptoms of COVID-19 or not.
We are asking everyone with psoriasis to complete this important online survey, or to ask a friend or family member to complete it on your behalf. The online PsoProtectMe survey takes only 5-10 minutes to complete and asks about your symptoms, psoriasis treatments and any underlying health conditions you may have. If you have suffered from COVID-19, you will be asked how this has affected you and your psoriasis. If in the future you develop COVID-19 we would ask that you revisit the survey (you will be provided with a unique reference number at the end) and let us know of your experience.
Please do complete the survey irrespective of the type or severity of psoriasis you have, whether you are currently treating your psoriasis or not. We need all ages to complete the survey in order to build an accurate picture.
Your information will help us understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people with psoriasis, and whether the treatments used for psoriasis increase or decrease the risk of severe COVID-19 infection. This will help healthcare professionals make important decisions about the clinical care of people with psoriasis during the pandemic. Which is why, even if you are well and have not had any symptoms of COVID-19 we really need you to answer this survey call. It could be that your treatment is beneficial in helping protect people from COVID-19 or it could be that one type, or severity of psoriasis affects the body’s response to this virus.
Your contribution will benefit everyone – please help by completing the PsoProtectMe survey today.
Helen McAteer, Chief Executive of the Psoriasis Association commented, “Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has been a worrying time for us all, it has again shown the strength of the psoriasis community that registries such as PsoProtect and now PsoProtectMe have been established so quickly to help further our understanding and treat people with psoriasis and COVID-19. The commitment of the teams at the St John’s Institute of Dermatology and the University of Manchester, with support from the Psoriasis Association is essential to the understanding not just of psoriasis, but all health events that may affect people living with the condition. Please do give 5-10 minutes to complete the survey – your information really is important.”
The Psoriasis Association is pleased to announce its support for PsoProtect, an international registry where health care professionals can report outcomes of COVID-19 infection in people with psoriasis.
PsoProtect has been set up by world-leading psoriasis researchers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, and the University of Manchester to capture de-identified information about the outcomes and experiences of individuals with psoriasis who have had COVID-19. This will provide real world information for clinicians to help them assess risk in people with psoriasis. The registry will also help researchers to investigate whether different medicines or co-morbidities of psoriasis affect the outcome of COVID-19 infection.
This registry will provide a vital clinical and research resource to help in our collective fight against COVID-19 but please note that the registry is for clinicians to submit de-identified data, not patients. However, if you or a family member with psoriasis have had, or get Coronavirus, please do ask your clinician to submit your data to PsoProtect.
PsoProtect will publish regular summaries and insights from the registry, however, they are unable to provide information on request. The latest data can be found here.
Resource - Preparing for a virtual consultation
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that more people than ever are having their healthcare appointments held by telephone or video. For many, this is a completely new experience and it can be a little disconcerting having to rely on technology when you’re used to seeing your doctor or nurse face-to-face. While many aspects of a virtual appointment will be the same as in-person, others (including the technology itself) will be different, which is why we’ve put this resource together.
The tips have been divided into two sections: those to bear in mind in advance of your appointment; and those to consider during the appointment itself. We hope they will be helpful, whether your next appointment is with a GP, nurse, dermatologist or rheumatologist.
Click here to view the top tips resource
If you have had a recent telephone or video appointment and you would like to share your experiences (or tips) with us, please take our short survey. We’d be very interested to hear your feedback.
Resource - Eating well during this challenging time
In this challenging time, it is understandable that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis may be concerned about their diet or have questions about nutritional issues. If you are stressed or outside of your usual routine then your diet can suffer, but it's important to try and maintain a healthy, balanced diet for your general health and wellbeing if possible.
Using information from the British Dietetic Association, we've put together a handy resource to help you continue to eat well. The tips included range from supporting your immune system to planning your food shops, and considering how you store and use your food.
Download the resource here
Reporting suspected side effects from medicines
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, patients are currently being asked to submit all suspected side effects of their medicines using the Yellow Card scheme electronically instead of paper. This is because all Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) staff are working remotely and no longer have access to the MHRA building (since 23rd March) due to the pandemic.
Please note that once the MHRA regains access to its building, it will process any paper suspected side effects reported to the Yellow Card scheme. If you have sent a side effect Yellow Card after 17th March 2020, and you haven’t received an acknowledgement of your report, you may wish to resubmit your suspected side effect electronically.
You can report suspected side effects electronically via:The Yellow Card website
- The free Yellow Card app (downloadable from the Apple and Google Play stores)
- Or by calling 0800 731 6789 for free on Monday to Friday between 10am and 2pm (you can leave a message outside of these hours and a member of the MHRA team will get back to you.
From the NHS:
From Public Health England:
From the British Association of Dermatologists:
- Dermatology advice regarding self-isolation and immunosuppressed patients
- Statement on dry skin and frequent handwashing to reduce COVID-19 risk
From Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust
- Dermatology and coronavirus: frequently asked questions - includes a number of FAQs specifically about immunosuppressant medications, social distancing, shielding, and a handy self-assessment risk calculator. Please note, while this resource contains really useful information for everyone, please only contact Guy's and St Thomas' if you are already one of their patients.
From the British Society for Rheumatology:
- A risk stratification guide which may be useful if you have psoriatic arthritis, are taking an immunosuppressant medication and you are unsure whether or not you fall into the 'extremely vulnerable' category requiring 'shielding'.
From the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance (ARMA):
- A handy resource on 'making decisions about shielding' with a particular focus on the updated shielding guidance from 6th July 2020 in England.
From UK healthcare experts in psoriasis:
- A series of videos produced by the pharmaceutical company, Janssen, 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.
Someone to talk to:
- Samaritans - Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 116 123 (free to call service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year), website: www.samaritans.org
- CALM - CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35. Phone: 0800 58 58 58, webchat also available (5pm-midnight, 365 days a year). Calls free from landlines, pay phones and all mobiles. Website: www.thecalmzone.net
From Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service:
Please note that this information is correct as of 26th June 2020. For up to date information, or if you think you may have the symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the latest NHS advice.