What is Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis rosea is a non-dangerous skin rash but inflicts considerable distress on some people. It typically starts with a solitary mother patch lesion, and then after 1 to 2 weeks, a generalized body rash lasting about six weeks follows.

The cause is undefined but it suggests a viral infection as the culprit based on its clinical presentation and immunologic reactions. As evidence shows, there is viral reactivation of human herpes virus-6 and HHV-7 but this is not consistent to some other cases because no antibodies were identified. Adding to the controversy is the fact that HHV-7 is commonly found in healthy people.

In most of the reported cases, an upper respiratory tract infection comes first. Then, a single elliptical, red herald patches around 2 to 10 cm. emerges characteristically on the abdomen. On occasions, the mother patch may come out on hidden areas like in the armpit for instance. 7 to 14 days after the herald patch appeared, large daughter patches of red, egg-shaped rash come out on the upper body and can also appear in the mouth. On rare cases, an inverse distribution of the rash occurs mostly on the extremities. Generally, the red patches stretches broadly across the chest going by the rib-line in a Christmas-tree distribution. Several days later, small circular patches appear on the back, neck and on the cheeks. The prognosis is good, with patients recovering completely for only a matter of weeks or in some cases up to six months.

There is no definitive prevention as the cause is still undetermined. Similar with common viral infections, preventive measures include proper hygiene, frequent hand washing, avoiding crowded places and contact to people who cough and sneeze.

This skin condition usually goes away without treatment Antihistamines and topical corticosteroids provide relief from itching and improve the appearance of the rash. Steroids however may cause the new skin to take longer to tone with the surrounding skin color. Use only soap with moisturizer. Exposure to direct sunlight for about 10 to 15 minutes a day can help the lesions resolve quickly.



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