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Pityriasis rosea is a mild disease that causes many small patches of scaly, rose-colored, inflamed skin. The cause of pityriasis rosea is not certain but may be an infectious agent; however, the disorder is not thought to be contagious. It can develop at any age but is most common in young adults. It usually appears during spring and autumn.
Pityriasis rosea causes a rose-red or light-tan patch of skin about 1 to 4 inches in diameter that doctors call a herald or mother patch. This round or oval area usually develops on the torso. Sometimes the patch appears without any previous symptoms, but some people have a vague feeling of illness, loss of appetite, fever, and joint pain a few days before. In 5 to 10 days, many similar but smaller patches appear on other parts of the body. These secondary patches are most common on the torso, especially along and radiating from the spine. Most people with pityriasis rosea have some itching, and in some people the itching can be severe.
A doctor usually makes the diagnosis based on the appearance of the rash, particularly the herald patch. Usually the rash goes away in 4 to 5 weeks without treatment, although sometimes it lasts for 2 months or more. Both artificial and natural sunlight may speed clearing and relieve the itching. Other standard treatments for itching may be used as needed (see Itching). Corticosteroids taken by mouth are necessary only for very severe itching.
Alternative Medical Treament:
Pityriasis rosea is a self-limiting disease, which means that it goes away on its own even without alternative or allopathic treatment. Both mainstream physicians and naturopaths, however, recommend adding a cup of oatmeal or baking soda to a tub of warm (not hot) water to minimize itching. In addition, patients whose lesions increase in size or number due to emotional stress may be helped by hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, meditation, or other therapies intended to reduce stress. Massage therapy, however, is contraindicated because the disease usually affects large areas of skin.
Homeopathic practitioners suggest the following remedies for pityriasis rosea, to be taken in 6C potency four times daily for 7 days:
In addition, a homeopathic remedy known as Urtica urens is available in cream or ointment form for direct application to affected areas.
- Arsenicum. Recommended for patients whose rash is accompanied by anxiety, restlessness, and thirst.
- Radium bromide. For patients whose lesions are fiery red in color, burning, and painful.
- Natrum muriaticum. For patients whose lesions have a red appearance under thin white scales, or whose pruritus is made worse by warmth or exercise.
Allopathic treatment: Allopathic treatment of pityriasis rosea is directed toward symptom relief, as the cause of the disease is still uncertain. To relieve the itching, the doctor may prescribe calamine lotion, zinc oxide ointment, oral antihistamine medications, or topical ointments containing corticosteroids or a combination of phenol and 25% menthol. Some physicians prescribe creams containing pramoxine, a local anesthetic. Steroid medications taken by mouth are not recommended unless the pruritus is extremely severe; although these drugs relieve itching, they may also prolong the course of the disease or make the lesions worse.
Some patients are benefited by exposure to sunlight or by treatment with ultraviolet light; however, there is some risk that the skin lesions will develop hyperpigmentation (become darker than the surrounding skin) after ultraviolet treatment. Hyperpigmentation is most likely to occur in African American patients.
There is no need to keep children with pityriasis rosea from attending school, as the disease is not considered contagious.The prognosis for patients with pityriasis rosea is excellent. The disease does not cause long-term health problems, is not dangerous even during pregnancy, and usually clears completely in 6?8 weeks. A few patients have lesions that last as long as 3?4 months, but fewer than 3% of patients experience recurrences. As the cause of pityriasis rosea is still debated as of 2004, there are no known preventive measures.
Disclaimer: If you believe you are suffering from a skin disorder you should consult a professional licensed medical practitioner. No one working for or connected with Vashon Organics either claims or pretends to be a licensed health care practitioner. Sources for the information provided in this database are provided and any information received by you from this database should be considered a starting place for your research rather than a definitive diagnosis or professional recommendation of treatment.