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Definition

Pityriasis Rosea is a very common type of skin disorders. Pityriasis rosea most often affects teenagers or young adults. In most cases there are no other symptoms, but in some cases the rash follows a few days after a upper respiratory viral infection. Although it can occur at any age, it is seen most often in those between the ages of 10 and 35. There is no relation between pityriasis rosea and HIV.

Causes

The cause of pityriasis rosea is unknown. Unlike many other skin conditions, it is not an allergic reaction or caused by a fungus or bacteria. Experts suggest that it may be caused by a virus, although it does not seem to spread from person to person (contagious) as most viruses do.

Symptoms

Attacks generally last 4 to 8 weeks. Symptoms may disappear by 3 weeks or last as long as 12 weeks. There is generally a single larger patch called a herald patch followed several days later by more a rash.
Some of the common symptoms of pityriasis rosea are :-

  • Skin redness or inflammation.
  • The rash may spread to the upper thighs.
  • Itching on the skin.
  • The patches seem crinkly and loose in the centre.

Treatment

If your doctor suspects you have pityriasis rosea, he or she will do a physical exam, inspecting the spots that have appeared on your skin. Often, this exam is all it takes to diagnose pityriasis rosea.

The most effective management consists of daily UVB treatments, or prednisone as used for contact dermatitis. Topical steroids of medium strength may also be used if pruritus is bothersome. Oral erythromycin for 14 days was reported to clear 73% of patients within 2 weeks.

Exposing the rash to sunlight may make it go away more quickly. However, exposing your skin to the sun too long can result in sunburn and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Use the cream very sparingly on the face or genitals. A nonprescription antihistamine medication, such as chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl), may also reduce itching.

Avoid strenuous physical activity and hot showers, or baths, to prevent exacerbating the rash. And, if you have darker (than pale) colored skin, the pigmentation from the rash may take longer to fade; however, know that it will eventually disappear, with or without treatment.

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