This August, Psoriasis Awareness Month, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) will launch a campaign with the twin goals of helping psoriasis patients to take better care of their health and of raising awareness about the 7.5 million people in the United States living with this disease.
The monthlong effort will kickoff with the release of a first “weekly challenge” on the campaign’s website, Psoriasis Awareness Month. For five weeks, each Monday will bring a new theme with a new challenge, and unlock educational articles, personal blogs, webcasts and fun social media content, encouraging patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals alike to help the NPF educate others. Through these releases, the NPF will also be sharing its resources on ways to manage and treat the disease.
Each weekly challenge also offers the chance to win a prize, with the winner of the final challenge receiving the top prize: a trip to the NPF 2017 National Volunteer Conference, which will take place in Chicago, Illinois. The prize includes round-trip airfare for two as well as a two-night hotel stay. Challenges run through September, and winners will be announced on World Psoriasis Day, Oct. 29.
Here are some ways you can participate in Psoriasis Awareness Month:
- Visit Psoriasis Awareness Month every Monday throughout August to learn about the weekly challenges – and take them
- Follow NPF’s Facebook,Twitter and Instagram pages, to find information and everyday resources to help understand what it’s like to live with psoriasis
- Show your support by sharing NPF posts and updates with your friends, using the hashtag#PsAM16
- Participate in awareness-raising social challenges, like the Selfie-sign or Citizen Pscientist, and share photo and video challenges
- Donate to NPF, to support advancements in psoriasis research, and NPF programs and services
- Check out TeamNPF to find walks, runs or cycling events in your area; those less sports-minded can host a DIY event and turn a hobby or passion into a fund- and awareness-raising event for psoriasis
Living with psoriasis can already be exhausting, the foundation said in a press release, ranging from aches and pains to fatigue, the stigma associated with a visual illness, and a higher risk of such conditions as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. The best way to help a loved one or a friend living with this condition is to truly understand the physical and emotional impact the disease has, and the treatment options available.
Psoriasis is a chronic, systemic disease of the immune system that is often seen on the skin as red itchy patches. Because of such symptoms, many are afraid that psoriasis is contagious, which is why awareness is so important. Psoriasis and its lesions are not contagious; the disease not something anyone can ‘catch’ by touching or hugging another person.
For this reason, the NPF is also forming a coalition of “Psoriatic Psuperheroes,” patients, family members, caregivers and supporters who will help to spread the word that “psoriasis isn’t contagious – awareness is!”
If you think you may have psoriasis, or psoriatic arthritis, consult a dermatologist for a formal diagnosis. For any related questions or for help finding a dermatologist in your local area, the NPF can help through its Patient Navigation Center.