Home Dating apps Psoriasis confused with Monkeypox; A man’s plea for acceptance

Psoriasis confused with Monkeypox; A man’s plea for acceptance

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Zach McMullen, 39, has suffered from severe psoriasis for 25 years and has struggled to find dates, most recently because people mistake his skin condition for monkey pox, which is contagious. Psoriasis is not.

“I received strange looks. I feel like as monkeypox has spread, it’s become more suspicious,” McMullen told Kennedy News Service recently. “I don’t deserve to be treated like a leper.”

When Zach browses dating apps, he tries to immediately talk about his skin condition to potential love interests and educates people that psoriasis can’t spread.

“Dating is hard enough without adding an extra layer of fear,” he said. “It’s about a soul, having to talk about your physical imperfections with people, especially when you’re trying to explain to guys that they don’t have to be afraid to touch you.”

Communications director says he was trolled, accused of lying about his health – saying he has psoriasis to cover up the fact he has monkeypox, which is unfortunate .

“People need to understand what monkeypox actually looks like [and they] should not ridicule others – even if they had monkeypox.

Related: Top 5 Things To Avoid Saying To Someone With Psoriasis

Zack recalls one time he used a credit card, the woman “fiercely” rubbed it, looking disgusted.

Zach McMullen

“People have to think ‘oh, he’s sick’. I’m not sick, it’s not contagious, Zach said. “I see people looking at my skin, seeing my lesions. people can be involuntary, like they don’t realize they’re wrinkling their nose or making a face.

A call for kindness

The physically and emotionally frustrated psoriasis sufferer took to social media to beg people to be kind.

“Be nice to your friends with psoriasis,” he wrote in a tweet that has garnered over 10,000 likes so far. “We don’t have monkeypox, we’re still people who hurt when you back away from us.”

Thankfully, Zach has had support from people with the same autoimmune disease who understand what he’s going through.

Related: “I Felt So Ugly and Lonely!” A 31-year-old woman has a massive flare-up of ‘guttate psoriasis’ which covered her face and body in red sores and scaly scabs

“Can identify. I have a few visible patches myself. Not as pronounced as yours, but people freak out when they see it,” one person commented.

“Right there with you,” chimed in another. “Psoriasis showed up just in time for monkeypox season. Guess I’ll be wearing long sleeves when I go out.

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Learn more about psoriasis

Psoriasis, in general, is a condition that affects up to 3.2 percent of the US population, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. It can cause itchy red patches to develop on the skin. But there are many different types of the disease, with plaque psoriasis being the most common.

Related: Psoriasis: How to Make Treatment Decisions

“Psoriasis is a chronic, autoimmune skin condition characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin,” Dr. Saakshi Khattri, dermatologist/rheumatologist at Mount Sinai Health System, previously told SurvivorNet. “It’s a chronic disease, which can fluctuate. You can have good days and bad days.

What is psoriasis? Understand the different types and symptoms of this rare skin condition

People with psoriasis are often asymptomatic, but uncomfortable flare-ups can occur. Psoriasis patches can vary in their appearance on the skin. You might have a few spots with dandruff-like flaking or rashes covering a large part of your body. The most common places to see psoriasis patches are the lower back, elbows, knees, legs, soles of the feet, scalp, face, and palms.

“Some patients report itching [or a] burning sensation, but this does not tend to be the norm. It can definitely happen,” Dr. Khattri explained. “Then if you have psoriasis in the genital area, it can be uncomfortable just because it’s in a very sensitive part of the body. But for the most part it tends to be asymptomatic.

Symptoms associated with psoriasis include:

  • Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
  • Small spots of scaling
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed or itch
  • Itching, burning or pain
  • Thickened or ridged nails
  • Swollen or stiff joints

If you ever start to notice red, scaly patches on your body, Dr. Khattri recommends that you seek immediate medical attention from a dermatologist to get a proper diagnosis and the proper care you need.

Learn more about SurvivorNet’s rigorous medical review process.