NIAMS National Multicultural Outreach Initiative

Health Observances


August is Psoriasis Awareness Month

What should I know about psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic or long-lasting skin disease that results in scaling and inflammation (pain, swelling, heat, and redness) of the skin. Normally, skin cells grow deep in the skin and slowly rise to the surface through a process called “cell turnover.” Usually, cell turnover takes about a month, but with psoriasis, cell turnover can happen in just a few days because the cells rise too fast and pile up on the surface.

Most forms of psoriasis cause patches of thick, red skin with silvery scales. These patches can itch or feel sore. They are often found on the elbows, knees, parts of the legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms, or soles of the feet. But they can show up other places such as on the fingernails, toenails, genitals, or inside the mouth.

Psoriasis can be hard to diagnose because it can look like other skin diseases. The doctor might need to look at a small skin sample under a microscope.

How can I manage psoriasis?

Doctors generally treat psoriasis in steps based on the severity of the disease, size of the areas involved, type of psoriasis, where the psoriasis is located, and the patient’s response to initial treatments. A combination of medicines and light treatment may be used.

In addition to treatments from your doctor, there may be ways for you to help manage your psoriasis, such as:

  • Keeping your skin well moisturized and adding a lubricant when bathing
  • Monitoring your health, as a way to stay in control
  • Joining support groups and counseling so that they can help you realize that you’re not alone. Group members also teach one another how to cope.

If you or a loved one needs to find a free or low-cost health center in your area, the Federal Government can help. Find a free or low-cost health center.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on psoriasis and related conditions, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):

You can also order these publications and other topics for free by visiting the NIAMS publication catalog website at or calling toll free at 1-877–226–4267 (TTY: 301–565–2966). Some publications are also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

What should I know about immunizations?

Vaccines and immunizations help protect people against certain dangerous and deadly diseases. When germs, such as bacteria or viruses, invade the body, they can attack and then multiply. This is called an infection, and an infection is what makes you sick. Vaccines can reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to the particular disease.

Immunization is one of the most successful and cost-effective ways of preventing millions of deaths every year. From infants to seniors, immunization protects against diseases. National Immunization Awareness Month is a great time to promote vaccines and remind family, friends, and coworkers to stay up to date on their shots.

Where can I find out more?

For more information on immunizations, visit the following resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: