A school-aged child may develop an itchy rash that spreads and joins up to form irregular patches, most often on the elbows, knees, and scalp, or around the navel. Eventually, the patches become covered with thick white scales.
These patches are typical of psoriasis. Unlike eczema, psoriasis is not an allergic condition. Frequently, there is a family history of psoriasis, and the child may have had unusually extensive cradle cap in infancy or dandruff in the toddler and preschool years. The condition occurs in both sexes but is more common in girls.
Attacks of psoriasis are often linked to periods of emotional stress, such as examination time at school. In some children, psoriasis may follow strep throat.
Do not try to remove the scales or treat the condition with over-the-counter remedies. If your pediatrician diagnoses psoriasis, your child may be referred to a dermatologist.