Psoriasis can be a difficult condition to deal with at the best of times. Your skin may feel itchy or make you feel embarrassed, and psoriatic arthritis can cause pain and fatigue at work. However, getting through your workday can be manageable with proper care and preparation! Adjust your daily practices and stay organized, and you can minimize skin problems and pain at work to promote comfort and productivity.
Method 1 of 3:Managing Your Skin Condition at Work
1Keep aloe at your workplace. Aloe vera lotion or gel may help ease redness, scaling, itching, and inflammation of psoriasis plaques. Aloe cream is readily available at most pharmacies and drug stores. Keep a bottle at your desk or, in your car if you drive a lot for work. Apply it regularly – it's safe to use often.Trustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
Keep a small bottle in your purse or briefcase if you're often on the move.
2Have moisturizer available. You may find that you prefer a traditional moisturizer over aloe. Any heavy cream or ointment moisturizer can help you manage itch at work. Keep a container available and apply it as often as you'd like.
Use moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15 if you work outdoors.
3Put a cold pack in the office fridge. Cold baths and ice packs can help alleviate itch from psoriasis. Since you probably can't shower at work, keep a cold pack in your office refrigerator. Use it at your desk if you start to itch.
Be courteous to your coworkers by keeping your cold pack in a bag, so it isn't touching food.
If you work outside or on the move, use a chilled lunchbox to carry a cold pack with you.
4Keep a spare bottle of itch-relief medication at work. Whether you use calamine lotion, hydrocortisone, camphor, or a prescription itch-relief medication, keep a spare bottle at the office or in your car. Ask your doctor for a spare prescription so you can have an extra bottle on hand.
If you take oral medication, know which medicines cause drowsiness and don't use them at work.
5Wear clothes that cover your plaques. If you feel particularly self-conscious one day, simply cover up whatever problem areas you can. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, or long skirts to cover your neck, arms, and legs. Use a colorful scarf or accessorize with gloves if you have plaques on your hands or neck.
6Use makeup. Body makeup and concealer can help to mask the redness and scaly skin of psoriasis plaques. These shouldn't be used all the time because they can irritate your skin, but you can use them some days if it makes you feel better emotionally.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about what types of products you should avoid. Don't use makeup on open cuts or sores. Always do a patch test on a small area of skin to make sure you don't react to it.
There is an art to covering rough, uneven skin with makeup. Ask a professional at a makeup counter for tips!
7Reduce inflammation. The red patches caused by psoriasis are sites of inflammation. To relieve your symptoms, take measures to reduce and prevent inflammation in your body.
Exercise can reduce inflammation and stiffness. Outside of work, try incorporating exercises like walking, swimming, and yoga into your life. At work, aim to stand and walk around at least once an hour.
An anti-inflammatory diet, in which you eat foods known to reduce inflammation, may help provide relief. Leafy greens, fruit, and foods with Omega-3s like olive oil may all help.
Ask your doctor about taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or a prescription drug. These can relieve inflammation and pain.
Method 2 of 3:Easing Arthritis Pain at Work
1Take short breaks throughout the day to walk or stretch. Pain management at work is important if you have psoriatic arthritis. Take several 5-minute breaks throughout your workday to stand up, stretch, and walk. This may help reduce pain and stiffness in your joints.
If you have a physically active job, take breaks to rest and gently stretch.
2Make your workspace ergonomically correct to minimize joint pain. Keep your wrists in neutral position while typing. Adjust your desk and chair height so that the center of your computer monitor sits at eye-level. Small adjustments can make a big difference.
3Alter your daily practices to decrease pain. When your arthritis pain acts up, compensate by adjusting your practices. Stand up to get items on shelves instead of reaching up. Change the height of your desk or chair throughout the day, or regularly change your posture and sitting position. Ask for help when lifting heavy objects.
4Get assistive devices to help combat pain. “Assistive devices” include anything that helps make you more productive and comfortable at work. Talk to your manager about how your pain affects your productivity – they should be willing to help you get devices for your workstation. Some helpful adaptations for those with psoriatic arthritis include:
Switching from a mouse to a track pad
Getting a writing bird to type for days when your hands are swollen or painful
Using an ergonomically correct office chair
Wearing a wrist brace to protect against strain if you have an active job
5Consider a change in schedule or careers. If you find that you're constantly uncomfortable at work, you may need to adjust your workday. Talk to your supervisor about whether you can go down to part-time. You may need to change jobs to something less physically demanding. Try to choose a position where you don't have to do heavy lifting or be on your feet all day.
Method 3 of 3:Minimizing Symptoms and Improving Productivity
1Follow your doctor's medical advice. Listen to your doctor's guidelines and recommendations, and use any medication you're prescribed appropriately. You'll feel more comfortable and productive in your workplace when your symptoms are at their best.
Ask your doctor if all of your medications are appropriate to take at work. Some may make you sleepy or dizzy.
2Keep a pill organizer at work. If you take multiple medications, keep a pill organizer at your desk, in your briefcase, or in your car. This can help you stay organized and remember to take your pills throughout the day.
Be sure to include an over-the-counter or prescribed pain medication to take if you have uncomfortable flare-ups.
Keep your medications in a safe location that others cannot access, especially if you work with children.
3Avoid triggers at work. Smoking, sun exposure, and stress are common triggers at work that can cause psoriasis flare-ups. Adjust your habits to protect yourself from triggers:
Quit smoking, and stay away from second-hand smoke. If your co-workers are smoking, excuse yourself for some fresh air.
Cover sun-exposed areas with pants and long-sleeved shirts made of light, breathable material. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face from the sun. Always wear sunscreen when outdoors.
Reduce your stress at work by doing short meditations at your desk. If you work outside, take five minutes out of every few hours to do gentle stretches and deep breathing. If you work in a high-stress environment, practice mindfulness or see a counselor to learn stress management skills.
4Talk to your supervisor about your needs. Make time to sit down with your supervisor to discuss how psoriasis affects your work. Explain that you may need to schedule doctor's appointments during work hours, and that you may struggle with pain and discomfort. Be honest and specific, and tell them you want to problem-solve together.
5Educate your coworkers. First, educate yourself as much as possible about the illness. Ask your doctor any questions you have. Then educate your coworkers. Often, helping people understand your struggle makes them more sympathetic. They may also be glad to know that the disease is not contagious.
If you don't feel comfortable speaking with your coworkers directly, approach your manager or supervisor for help. Say something like, “I'd like my coworkers to be aware of and educated about my psoriasis. Could you help me come up with a plan?”
You never HAVE to tell anyone about your psoriasis. Only do this if you feel comfortable sharing.
6Do not tolerate prejudice. If you encounter any prejudice, discrimination, or abuse in the workplace, talk to your employer immediately. In the United States the Americans with Disabilities Act protects you against discrimination in the workplace. Your employer is obligated to deal with the situation or they can be sued.
Many regions have organizations to combat workplace discrimination, such as the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) that works in parts of North America, Europe, Asia, and more.
Search for an organization in your country by visiting the United Nations Division for Social Policy and Development Disability online.Trustworthy SourceUnited NationsOfficial site for the United Nations, an intergovernmental organization devoted to maintaining peace and building relationships between all nations.Go to source
7Minimize how much work you miss. Whenever possible, schedule doctor appointments for first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon. This helps minimize how much time you have to take off work, and shows your employer that you're doing your best to be productive.
If you have multiple appointments due, try to schedule them on the same day. Take that day off, and you won't have to miss other working hours.
8Take good care of yourself. This means managing your symptoms and flares at home as well as at work. This will help prevent flare ups during work hours, and it can reduce your overall stress.
Try relaxation practices like yoga, meditation, or tai chi.
Soak in a hot bath with oatmeal or sea salt for relief after work.
Avoid getting sunburned, and always follow your doctor's treatment plan.
9Join a support group. It can be very soothing to interact with others who share your struggle. Ask your doctor for information about local psoriasis support groups, or search online for groups in your community. Express your concerns about the workplace to your support group.
For instance, you can say, “I feel embarrassed about my psoriasis when I interact with clients,” or, “My pain makes it hard to get through the day.” Others in the group may share your struggles and know ways of coping.
Join an online message board, like with the National Psoriasis Foundation.