Pityriasis Rosea Causes: Symptoms, Diagnosis And Home Remedies

Pityriasis Rosea is an acute generalized skin disorder which is observed in children and young adults. It is usually observed between the ages of 12 and 45. Both sexes are equally affected by the disease. Though the exact etiology of the disease is obscure, it is believed to be caused by a virus.

It is a self limiting disease, meaning it resolves on its own and may not need to be treated. The course of the disease is about 6 to 12 weeks. The rash is significantly harmless and leaves no permanent scars or marks on the body.  Second attack of pytiriasis rosea is rare.

Symptoms Of Pityriasis Rosea

  • The onset is sudden.
  • This skin condition is characterized by a large single patch, called herald patch which may be the size of our palm.
  • The primary patch is dry, reddish with a distinct and well defined border.
  •  There may be mild itching especially during hot climate or after exercise or hot bath.
  •  The primary patch develops either on the back, chest or on the neck. Face is spared most of the time.
  • About 5 to 10 days later several smaller eruptions develop on the trunk, upper arm, upper part of thigh, and the neck.
  • Typically the smaller rashes start from the middle portion of the body and spread on the sides of back and trunk.
  • The rash is distributed in a Christmas tree pattern.
  • Within few days of their eruption, the patches begin to peel and become slightly wrinkled.
  • Scaling is typically cigarette paper like. With the free edge of the scale pointing towards the center.
  • The rash may be accompanied with flu like symptoms such as malaise, raised body temperature, body ache, sore throat, and decreased food intake.

What Causes Pityriasis Rosea?

Researchers are still uncertain about the exact cause of pytiriasis rosea. They believe it is caused due to virus organism. A certain strain of herpes virus has been blamed, but is not related to the common herpes virus which is responsible for genital or oral herpes.

No one is certain about how the disease is spread; it has been assumed that the spread is by droplets from the respiratory tract. However, the disease is not contagious and there is no threat to the immediate contacts or caretakers. This is evident as people coming in close contact with the sufferer do not contract the disease.

Pityriasis Rosea Differential Diagnosis

Pytiriasis rosea is confused many times with other skin disorders, especially in the initial period. It is confused as an allergic rash, ringworm, psoriasis patch, seborrheic dermatitis, or secondary syphilis. However, single attack, sudden onset, with a mother patch, typical distribution of rash together with histopathology tests clearly helps in establishing the diagnosis. Generally the physician is able to identify pytiriasis rosea only by examining the rash.

Home Remedies For Pityriasis Rosea

Pytiriasis rosea is a self limiting disease and there is no specific treatment focused to cure it. It generally runs its course between 6 to 8 weeks and gradually heals on its own without leaving any residual symptoms. However, many times itching is the main concern. It can be easily palliated with home remedies.

  • Oatmeal bath is one such natural itching solution for pytiriasis rosea. To prepare oatmeal bath, grind 1 or 2 cups of oatmeal till it becomes fine powder. Add this powder in the tub filled with lukewarm water. Ensure it has mixed well. Soak inside the tub and relax for 15 minutes.
  • Apply rose water to the affected area for relieving itching.
  • Sun rays are said to be useful. Stand in sunlight for ten to fifteen minutes in a day.
  • Avoid heavy exercise, or activities that lead to heavy perspiration since sweating will trigger itching.
  • Applying calamine lotion is also found to be useful in relieving itching sensation of pytiriasis rosea.

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