Saturday, September 29, 2012

Skin Rash-Pityriasis rosea



My 17 year old son showed me the strange rash that was developing on his chest and back.  It was itchy and each day seemed to be getting worse and worse.  The rash spread around his back and under the arms but spared his face and arms and legs.  After examining the pattern, I was sure of the diagnosis...Pityriasis rosea.

This strange rash occurs in the spring and the fall and mainly strikes young adults. (I did diagnose it once in a 35 yer old woman).  We think it is a virus but it doesn't seem to spread from person to person and it is usually quite isolated.

The symptoms start with a "herald patch", one larger spot that develops into a wider, pinkish, scaly rash over a week or so.  The red, raised spots can last for up to 12 weeks but usually resolve by 4-8 weeks.  As seen here, it is mainly on the body trunk.

There is no treatment for Pityriasis rosea except patience and antihistamines for itching. 

For you wordophiles- Pityriasis comes from the Greek "bran" and refers to flaking or scaling of the skin.  Rosea comes from the latin word meaning "pink" or "rose-colored".  The condition was first described in 1860 by French physician Camile Gibert.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is so helpful. My brother had a rash like this and the dermatologist had no idea what it was. He said it might be mites or allergies. It looked just like this and lasted about 4 weeks. Now I know what he had.

Anonymous said...

…diagnosed with this at 16 … and once again at 52… so it can hit more than once and even when you're a long way past being a young adult...

Anonymous said...

i think i have it do i see a doctor or let it pass?

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Anon on Dec 29. If you are pretty sure it is pityriasis you don't need to see a doctor. There is no treatment and it will pass.

Anonymous said...

I have it right now, same symptoms, I thought I had bed bugs or something but the rash is so itchy, I cant stop scratching it, it started on my chest area and then it spread down to my stomach and now my back. Thank you for posting this, it helps, I guess I have to resist scratching, thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Can you get it bad on your arms? I have these symptoms but its on my arms a lot too and in areas such as under my boobs. Does this sound like it still could be it?

Toni Brayer, MD said...

Anon March 27,2013: If it is mainly on your arms and under your breasts that does not sound like pityriasis. It is most prevalent on the trunk and back and buttocks area. Get it checked out if you are not sure.

Jennifer said...

is it possible to have two herald patches ? my first large patch was on the back of my leg then the rash was on the backs of my legs and stomach, that was around April 10th 2013 , now i have another large patch that appeared about 2 weeks ago that is on my inner thigh . so now i have the rash on my inner thighs , arms, back of my legs and it hurts very bad like raw sore skin. my dermatologist diagnosed me with PR in April.

Elizabeth Alfaro said...

I am having the same problem I went to the doctor yesterday he said I was do you di hydrated and that I need to drink alot of Powerades I have it in my stomach and back how long did it take ur son for them to go alway