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What is Guttate Psoriasis?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Feb 05, 2024
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Guttate psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by the sudden appearance of tiny papules over the surface of the skin. The papules usually have a fine scale over the surface. The appearance of this form of psoriasis may be an isolated incident triggered by some type of infection, or serve as the precursor to the development of other forms of psoriasis.

The name for this kind of psoriasis has its roots in the shape of the individual papules that spring up on the surface of the skin. Guttate is derived from the gutta, a Latin word that is translated to mean “drop,” an accurate description of the appearance of each of the papules. In addition to being in the shape of a drop of liquid, the papules are usually somewhat pink in color.

Also known as eruptive psoriasis, guttate psoriasis usually appears on the chest or stomach of the individual, although the outbreak can also occur on the extremities, such as the feet and hands. Generally, people who are under the age of thirty are more susceptible to an outbreak, although there are situations where people well into their fifties may suffer a sudden attack. The outbreak may last for a few weeks, then begin to fade. In some instances, the outbreak does not fade and begins to develop into a more chronic form of psoriasis.

For the most part, health care professionals believe that guttate psoriasis causes are linked to infections, especially upper respiratory problems. However, there are also cases reported where there is no evidence of any type of respiratory ailment, leading some medical experts to determine that the condition may also be chronic, having remained dormant for an extended period of time until activated by fatigue or some similar factor. Testing can usually determine of the psoriasis is due to the presence of a previously undiagnosed respiratory ailment.

Treatment for guttate psoriasis is sometimes not necessary, since the condition will often disappear over the course of a few weeks. For mild cases, applying some sort of topical cream will help to prevent inflammation and ease any itching that takes place. However, advanced cases may require guttate psoriasis treatments that are more aggressive in nature.

One guttate psoriasis treatment that often provides relief is a combination of antibiotics and direct exposure to sunlight. The amount of time spent in the sun should be carefully monitored and adjusted if necessary by a qualified physician. There is also the possibility of using modern equipment to subject the patient to controlled bursts of UV-B phototherapy as a way of dealing with the small lesions. As with the exposure to sunlight, the phototherapy treatments should be conducted under the care of a doctor.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By ddljohn — On Jul 20, 2014

@stoneMason-- The skin symptoms like the rash, itching and redness can be treated in the same way. But the treatment isn't exactly the same.

If there is an infection, for example, the person needs to use antibiotics. Like the article said, treatment with sun exposure can also be used. I think that there is a link between vitamin D and psoriasis. Some doctors feel that psoriasis, including guttate psoriasis, is a result of a vitamin D deficiency. And the only way to produce vitamin D naturally is to get sunlight.

By bluedolphin — On Jul 19, 2014

@stoneMason-- No, it doesn't have to be a result of infection. I'm not an expert on this but as far as I understand, there are two types of guttate psoriasis. One is caused by an infection and one that develops on its own and is the beginning of regular, chronic psoriasis.

But the only way to know is for the doctor to observe the symptoms and check the patient's health history and any infections that may be present currently.

By stoneMason — On Jul 19, 2014

So guttate psoriasis does not have to be caused by infection? Can this type of psoriasis be treated the same way as regular psoriasis?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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