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Author: Dr Amy Stanway, Department of Dermatology, Waikato Hospital, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2004.
Guttate psoriasis is psoriasis that is characterised by multiple small scaly plaques on the trunk and limbs. ‘Gutta’ is Latin for a drop; guttate psoriasis looks like a shower of red, scaly teardrops that have fallen down on the body.
Guttate psoriasis tends to affect children and young adults of both sexes and all races.
Guttate psoriasis often follows a streptococcal infection of the throat or an upper respiratory tract viral infection. There may be a genetic disposition to psoriasis.
Guttate psoriasis comes on very quickly, and within a few days, small red scaly plaques may spread widely. Occasionally there may be only a few scattered lesions in total.
The psoriasis plaques are usually concentrated around the trunk and upper arms and thighs. Face, ears and scalp are also commonly affected but the lesions may be very faint and quickly disappear in these areas.
The diagnosis of guttate psoriasis is made by the combination of history, clinical appearance of the rash, and evidence for preceding infection.
Treatment for guttate psoriasis may include:
Guttate psoriasis rarely requires treatment with oral medications.
Guttate psoriasis often spontaneously clears within three or four months. Some people have persistent small or large plaque psoriasis. Another flare of guttate psoriasis may follow a streptococcal throat infection.
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