Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis Rosea: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Pityriasis Rosea:

Pityriasis Rosea is a skin disorder which is quite common in children and young people. Spring and fall are the climatic condition when it affects the most. Whenever pityriasis rosea starts appearing in the body, initially it appears as a large spot on the skin. This skin disorder has characteristic rashes which are confused with many other skin disorders in early stages. The most affected parts of body are chest, abdomen or back. From middle of the body, rashes start and take the shape like a drooping pine-tree branches. Rashes of this skin disorder fade away on their own within few weeks. These rashes leave no permanent mark after fading away. In case of dark skin, these rashes leave permanent, flat and brown marks after getting healed.

Patient can follow some measures to relieve from discomfort and pain.

Signs and symptoms of Pityriasis rosea

In the initial phase, rashes of pityriasis rosea begin in the form of scaly patch which is known as the herald patch. This patch is large and slightly raised. It is usually present on back, abdomen and chest.

In the next stage, pityriasis rosea progresses in pine-tree pattern on back, abdomen, and chest. This occurs after few days or few weeks after the herald patch. Sometimes, you can see smaller spots on the face, legs and arms. There may be itch in rashes.

Itching may be severe in rashes of pityriasis rosea when the person affected becomes overheated. Pityriasis rosea rashes are often pink and scaly. It may be gray, dark brown or black on the darker skin. Upper respiratory infections are the symptoms which some people may show. They may have sore throat, blocked nose, congestion and cough. All of it becomes before appearance of herald patch.

What is the Cause of Pityriasis rosea

It is still unknown what causes pityriasis rosea. It may be a viral infection like some strains of herpes virus but it is not infectious.

When you should consult a doctor?

You must consult a doctor if you develop scaly patch on your back, chest or abdomen or you see any rash across back, abdomen or chest or you see a rash on your leg, face or arm. You must also see doctor if you have pityriasis rosea and rashes do not fade away in three months.

Diagnosis of Pityriasis rosea:

 Doctor identifies the pityriasis rosea by just physical examination of rashes. In early stages, symptoms of pityriasis rosea, resemble symptoms of other diseases like eczema, psoriasis or ringworm. To confirm the type of skin disease, doctor may recommend skin biopsy or blood test.

What are the Treatments Available:

Pityriasis rosea, usually fades away in few weeks; within four to eight weeks.

Mainly, treatment for pityriasis rosea is targeted towards control of itching. Doctor may prescribe antiviral medicines like acyclovir and famciclovir or antibiotic medicine like erythromycin to reduce the duration of disorder to one to two weeks. But these medicines are prescribed in case of severe symptoms. If itching is mild then condition can get improve itself without treatment.

If you feel too uncomfortable with itching, doctor may recommend following treatment to provide relief.

Steroid creams or ointments can be applied on rashes to reduce and control itching and decrease redness. Other medicines are oral histamines which are available on prescription. On prescription antihistamines are cetrizine and fexofenadine. And over-the-counter antihistamine medications include diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, clemastine and loratadine.

Patient can take help of light therapy (photothearapy) also. For this, you will have to go to the clinic. In this process, ultraviolet B (UVB) is used. Sunlight can also be used. But before going on to the treatment, get full information about the treatment.

Self-care for Pityriasis rosea :

There are some steps which you can take to relieve the discomfort caused by rashes of this disease.

While bathing, use lukewarm water.

Taking an oatmeal bath can help relieve itching.

Avoid those activities which sweating. Sweating tends to aggravate itching.

You can apply zinc oxide and calamine lotion on rashes to ease itching.

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