My 18 year old daughter complained about an area on her back getting itchy most of the times. She asked me to take a look and I saw an oval pink patch. There are small patches near the big one. She was also showing some signs of flu. I got worried so I took her to a doctor. He told us to visit a dermatologist. We did and the doctor told us that she has pityriasis rosea, a skin ailment that would just disappear after 6 to 8 weeks of its appearance.
Aside from its pink color, it is not known to have serious implications except for itchiness. We were advised to avoid activities that can make the body hot. Taking hot baths should be avoided as well as wearing of clothes that are made of warm fabric. I searched for more information about this skin disease and felt at ease when I realized it was not life-threatening.
What is pityriasis rosea?
Pityriasis rosea is a skin condition manifested by the appearance of a rash or pinkish oval patch on the skin. The big patch is called the “herald” or “mother” patch while the small ones are called the “daughter” patches. The mother patch and daughter patches usually form a shape similar to a Christmas tree. The patch is usually scaly and itchy. It usually appears at the abdomen, back, or neck but rarely on the face. It appears on people aged between 10 to 35 years old.
The patches stay on the skin for two to eight weeks and just disappear. In worst cases, bumps may appear on the patches. This skin disease attacks both males and females. There is no known cause of pityriasis rosea. Some believe that it is viral but has not proven this idea yet. In most instances, the patches will just disappear even without medication. People who had this skin problem did not experience recurrence of the disease.
There is no identified cause of pityriasis rosea although it is believed that it is triggered by some strains of herpes virus. However, this virus is not associated with the herpes virus that cause sores.
Symptoms of Pityriasis Rosea
There are several symptoms that indicate that a person is about to have pityriasis rosea. Before its onset, the person might exhibit signs of lethargy such as a feeling of tiredness and lack of energy. This is followed by the appearance of a scaly and pink patch. After the appearance of this single patch called as the “mother” patch, smaller ones will appear. They are called the “daughter” patches. Usually, the patches form a triangular pattern that resembles a Christmas Tree.
How to Treat Pityriasis Rosea
Since the main symptom is itchiness, doctors usually prescribe medicine that can minimize or eradicate itching. Anti-inflammatory remedies are also recommended. In addition, taking anti-virus mediation can help. Exposure to sunlight is also known to treat this condition but it is recommended that over exposure to the sun must be avoided. If the patches do not disappear after three months, it will be best to visit your doctor for consultation.
How to Minimize the Effects of Pityriasis Rosea
Since there are no treatments that can help get rid of the skin problem instantly, here are some tips to make life easy while the patches are still in your body.
- Avoid taking hot baths. It seems that high temperature worsens the condition, making it itchier. Be sure to bathe in warm or cold water only. Also, keep the room at cool temperature. Otherwise, bumps will develop and the itching worsens.
- Apply topical steroid cream to the affected areas. Calamine or menthol lotion will help reduce the itching.
- Take oral antihistamines to minimize the itching. They make you feel sleepy, preventing you from scratching the area too much. Remember that scratching the area makes it itchier and leave scars on the skin that might not be pleasant to the eyes.
- Avoid wearing clothes made of warm textiles. Cotton and silk fabrics are recommended because they are cool. Wearing warm clothing will increase the itchiness and cause bumps to breakout.
- Avoid soaps that make the skin dry. Use mild soaps especially those that have moisturizing effect on the skin.
- Avoid activities that can make you hot. Running several miles and working out several hours can cause your body to overheat and the pink patches to become worse.
- Expose yourself to sunlight for 10 to 15 minutes only. Staying too log can make you feel hot and will trigger pityriasis rosea.
- Take oatmeal baths or use soap that contains oatmeal. Use unflavored oatmeal for this purpose. To make the bath, pour the desired oatmeal into a bowl. Grind the oatmeal into smaller pieces by pushing it with the back of spoon or placing it in a plastic bag and running over it a rolling pin. Place in a bowl and mix with your favorite bath oil. Pour the mixture into a coffee filter or muslin cloth and tie it with a ribbon or rubber band. Then, put hot water into the tub and place the bag of oatmeal in the end far from the faucet. While the hot water is cooling down, the oatmeal in the bag will disperse in the water. Stay in the water for several minutes and feel the refreshing effect. The itchiness will disappear.
- Try the homeopathic natural formula
Is pityriasis rosea contagious?
Many skin ailments are contagious and people who see sufferer of skin diseases avoid them for fear that they will be infected too. However, this skin problem is not contagious even if you happen to touch the diseased area.
If ever you find yourself having pityriasis rosea, don’t panic because is not a threat to your life. However, see a dermatologist so that you will not suffer much from itchiness, which usually accompanies the red patches. Keep your body cool at al times by bathing in lukewarm water and wearing clothes made of cotton or silk because these fabrics are cool to the body.