Taking a bit of a diversion from food this month, I wanted to talk about our four legged friends. Actually, they could be two legged, feathered, reptilian or aquatic! Whichever your chosen pet, there seems to be a lot of mixed opinion on whether they aid or worsen psoriasis, especially the furry kind.
Can pets cause a psoriasis flare up?
There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that allergies to dogs or cats could trigger psoriasis. However, it would be easy to see why if you get an allergic reaction on your skin it could affect your psoriasis. It's like wearing certain clothes, some irritate my skin and whilst that may not directly cause psoriasis, the irritation makes my skin red and a flare up often follows.
Now I am lucky enough not to have any allergies to dogs or cats. I had always been a dog person and we have had two dogs who have now both sadly passed away many years ago. If you have read my previous posts you will have seen that I now have a cat called Bob. It is hard to avoid him really when he gate-crashes the photo shoots, like the one I did a few months ago on Juicing.
Bob was found on a farmer's land and was handed in to a local vet. He was under a year old, checked for a chip and the word went out that Bob needed a home. Although I am a dog person, I could not let Bob remain homeless at risk of being put to sleep, so I called the vet and said we would take him in. Bob soon made himself at home and it is hard to imagine not having him around.
Does Bob help or hinder my psoriasis?
I can categorically state that Bob is a huge help to my psoriasis. He is the friend who listens without comment, lets you talk without interruption. He quietly sits there and watches me when I talk to him, yes I talk to him not to myself, and just lets me rant. I can tell him my darkest thoughts and deepest feelings about this condition. He may give me a sniff, come up for a fuss or just roll over and go to sleep. The point is it helps me to let things out and not feel like I'm totally mad by talking to myself.
Sometimes it just helps to have someone there. With psoriasis, the times you are alone can be the most difficult. Whether that be just an hour, a day or a week. When my wife isn't around for any reason it is good to know Bob is there, even if he is somewhere asleep in the house. He isn't a lap cat which in part is good as I can be very fidgety so that would probably annoy him. He just likes to be close most of the time, like he is making sure we're okay.
Be more Bob
I have written about Bob on my personal blog and the point there was that we should all be more Bob. Animals can teach us a lot about accepting people for who they are. This isn't just for psoriasis patients, we are all different and our pets do not care. Bob doesn't care what I'm wearing or what I look like. He doesn't judge, he would be just as happy if I had two heads and horns growing out of my back.
A pet's love is unconditional; okay they may want feeding and a treat now and then. The thing is, they love us no matter what. When I'm feeling down or my skin is particularly bad, that little nudge from his nose as I inspect my skin never fails to make me smile and, if only for a second, I don't feel as down.
If only we all could learn to love one another like that. To not turn your head away when you see someone who looks different or doesn't fit into what is considered the norm. To not mutter under your breath about the state of someone or avoid sitting next to them on the bus. Bob doesn't care if I have clear skin or not, he loves me all the same.
So Bob will not cure my psoriasis, but being there and helping me relax has to be of help, as any relaxation method would. The one thing I am sure of is that Bob has a huge impact on improving my mental health, even if you do think I'm slightly mad for talking to him.
By the way, Bob says "Hi".
This content is not intended to advise you about your health. Always seek advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare professionals.
UK/IE MAT-07844. Date of preparation: March 2017