Pityriasis rosea is a skin rash that begins as a large spot on the abdomen or chest and then spreads to other areas of the body. While it can affect people of any age, this disease is most common in people between 10 and 35 years of age and in pregnant women. The condition typically resolves without intensive treatment, but it usually lasts for 4 to 8 weeks.
Symptoms Of Pityriasis Rosea
The pityriasis rosea rash begins as a large, scaly, raised spot on the trunk of the body that lasts for around 2 weeks. Called the mother or Herald patch, the color of this spot varies with the patients skin color. In people with fair to medium skin, it appears pink or red. In darker skinned people, the rash is violet, dark gray or black. A week or two after the mother patch appears oval-shaped daughter patches start to pop up on other parts of the body. These are the same color as the mother patch, but they are smaller. Daughter patches most commonly appear on the back, chest, abdomen, arms and legs.
Some pityriasis rosea sufferers have no signs other than the skin rash, but other patients do report additional physical symptoms. Some sufferers experience the signs of a cold just before the rash develops. These include headache, slight fever, nasal congestion and sore throat. Once the rash appears, about half of those with pityriasis rosea report itchy skin. The itch tends to occur more often when the skin is heated, such as when patients take warm baths, perform vigorous physical activity or spend time in the sun.
Causes Of Pityriasis Rosea
Doctors are not sure what causes pityriasis rosea. The current theory is that disease is caused by a virus, possibly a strain of the human herpes virus. There is no evidence that the rash is contagious.
Diagnosis Of Pityriasis Rosea
In many cases, a dermatologist can diagnose the condition on the appearance of the rash alone. However, in the early stages, doctors may need to do other tests to confirm that the rash is caused by pityriasis rosea instead of another similar-looking condition, such as Lyme disease, psoriasis, ringworm or secondary syphilis. Some common tests to rule out these conditions include blood work and a biopsy of the rash.
Treatment Of Pityriasis Rosea
This condition usually does not require any special treatment. The rash typically disappears on its own in 4 to 6 weeks. To reduce itching, doctors advise sufferers to bathe or shower in lukewarm water, take oatmeal baths and apply calamine lotion or zinc oxide cream to the rash. In cases where the rash does not go away after 8 weeks, the itching is very severe or where the patient is pregnant, more intense treatment or monitoring may be necessary.
Doctors can use antiviral drugs or light therapy to lessen the duration of the pityriasis rosea rash, and they can prescribe other medications to help with itching. Drugs such as Acyclovir and Famciclovir will not cure the rash, but they can hasten recovery by up to 2 weeks. Light therapy with UVB light or sunlight can also lessen the duration of the rash but can cause persistent dark spots on the skin. If severe itching is a problem, a doctor may prescribe steroid creams or oral antihistamines to provide relief of pityriasis rosea.
No related posts.