Over 100,000 people in Ireland suffering with psoriasis
23rd March 2011: Young people with psoriasis were today encouraged to have the confidence to talk freely about their condition in order to increase awareness of its causes and treatments. The call was made by broadcaster Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh who today launched two new information booklets aimed at younger people living with psoriasis and their parents. Blathnaid has battled with the skin condition herself for a number of years.
Speaking at the launch of the booklets, supported by Pfizer Healthcare Ireland and the Psoriasis Association of Ireland, Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh said, “Young people with psoriasis need to remember that their condition is nothing to be ashamed of. Many psoriasis patients, especially younger people, are understandably nervous about talking about it but my personal experience is that the more we discuss it the greater the understanding there is from others.”
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that is thought to affect approximately 3% of the world’s population. It is not contagious and, while it cannot be cured, it can be controlled with treatment. Ordinarily, skin cells take about three to four weeks to replace themselves; in psoriasis the process is greatly accelerated and skin cells can be replaced every two to six days, resulting in itchy, flaking skin. Around 100,000 people in Ireland are affected by the condition.
Dr Brian Kirby, Consultant Dermatologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital, welcomed the launch of the booklets, saying “Treatments for psoriasis have moved on significantly in recent years and these days, people don’t have to suffer needlessly with the condition. There are many effective treatments available which can manage and clear psoriasis.”
The main booklet, ‘Aoife – living with psoriasis’, has been developed for younger teenagers and children, particularly those newly diagnosed with psoriasis. Featuring colourful cartoons, it deals with the experiences of Aoife, a young girl who is experiencing a difficult time in school as a result of her condition.
The second booklet ‘Let’s talk about psoriasis’, is aimed at the parents of young patients and dispels the myths around the condition. It gives parents, teachers, sports coaches and friends of those with psoriasis ideas on helping young patients deal with everyday situations at school, at home and socially.
Paul Reid, Specialty Care Business Unit Director, Pfizer, said, “We are delighted to partner with the Psoriasis Association of Ireland to help launch the information booklets and hope that they are useful resources for the friends and family members of those living with psoriasis.”
Commenting on the booklets, Caroline Irwin, chairwoman of the Psoriasis Association of Ireland and psoriasis sufferer, said “Severe psoriasis can have a significant impact on quality of life. Many sufferers, particularly young people, feel embarrassed about their condition and anxious about the reaction of others. We hope these booklets will send the message to those with psoriasis that the condition can be treated, allowing them to live a normal life.”
The launch was also attended by 15 year old Eileen Woods, a student from Kilkenny who has lived with psoriasis for a number of years. Eileen said “These booklets will help raise awareness about psoriasis and hopefully let young people with the condition know that they are not alone.”
Attending the launch of the Psoriasis Youth Information Campaign in Dublin today were (L-R)
Published: 23rd March 2011.