Pityriasis Rosea : A Strange Full Body Rash
Have you ever suffered from this condition?
Have you ever had Pityriasis Rosea?
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What is Pityriasis rosea
Pityriasis rosea also called pityriasis rosea (pit-uh-rahy-uh-sis row-zee-ah) Gilbert, is a skin rash. It is harmless but may cause discomfort in certain cases. Normally, it begins with a single "herald patch" lesion, that lasts 7-14 days and is then followed by a generalized body rash lasting up to 12 weeks, however usually around 6 - 8. In rare cases it can last up to 6 months.
My fun filled story
As I sit here writing this article I am covered in Pityriasis rosea. This is the first time I've had this rash, and from what I've learned, it will most likely be the last. This is a SCARY rash! I was sick with an upper respiratory infection about a month ago. It was bronchitis, I am a recent ex smoker and thank god for being able to put cigarettes down after 17 years of smoking. Anyhow I received treatment and antibiotics for my cold and quickly recovered. I have been going through extreme stress related to work and family, and had purchased a new swimsuit when I first noticed my Herald patch. I thought it was from fabric friction (I have no idea why I'd think that was the cause looking back), and quickly thought nothing more of it, until a week passed and it had not healed. I then thought I may have contracted ringworm, as I once got that from a tanning bed, and it looked very much like it. I treated it for 3 more days with anti fungal medication and coconut oil, and it did not improve, did not improve at all! By day 30 of the Herald patch arrival, I had a low grade fever, and was exhausted. I rested when I could. Then the rest of the rash began to develop. It started on my lower legs and inner thighs, and quickly moved to my belly and rib cage. It is still spreading as I type this. I have it on my thighs, groin, rib cage, armpits, chest, back and legs. The only places that seem unaffected are my face, palms, soles of feet, and forearms. I've read that this rash is associated with immune system suppression, and herpes virus type 6 and 7, which 90% of humans carry by the age of 6 years old, and that it is viral. I did have chicken pox as a kid, so it's very likely this is a form of HSV. I then went to my dermatologist who confirmed the diagnosis. But before getting to my Dermatologist, I had a visit to the ER for panic and severely uncomfortable skin. I want to burn my skin off, I have never had a feeling like this before in my life and it is horrible. My dermatologist promptly reassured me that there was no need to panic, and to treat this at home. I'm still in panic mode. I want this to go away. I feel like a freak, or that I should be cast out to a leper colony. Luckily for my other family members this is not contagious. I'm now treating this at home with garlic capsules, anti-inflammatory medication, steroids, vitamins, rest, and medicated powder. I only pray this will be gone in a few more weeks, especially because my belly is itching like crazy! This is a very scary, unsettling rash, although harmless and not life threatening. This is a non specific rash, that no one knows the true cause of. It can spread almost over your entire body and it takes a long time to clear up. I felt compelled to share my experience with others, so hopefully if you get this rash, you will take good care of yourself and get better promptly.
What causes this strange rash?
Pityriasis rosea is often caused by a suppression to the immune system either from a previous illness or virus, or from extreme stress. It is common for a previous upper respiratory infection to proceed all other symptoms in 70% percent of cases diagnosed. This rash typically does not leaves scars on the body!
Did you suffer from a cold or illness before this rash appeared?
Pityriasis rosea Herald patch
Itchy Pityriasis roseaClick thumbnail to view full-size
The symptoms of this skin disorder are usually easy to identify but can often be mistaken for another illness.
- In all cases, a legion called a "Herald patch" will develop. This is an oval shaped lesion, with a flaky raised edge, 1-10 cm in size with a raised border and fine, adherent scales. It may first appear as a mild skin abrasion, as days pass, it can easily be mistaken for ring worm. But using anti-fungal creams will do nothing to make it go away. Typically the Herald patch appears on the chest or arms, but sometimes in the armpit, where it is easily unnoticed. The Herald patch will form, and within 7-14 days, new lesions in smaller sizes will begin to develop on the body. Most of the time, the rash will cover the upper extremities and trunk, leaving the face, hands, and feet unscathed. It can also appear on the lower legs, groin, and buttocks.
- Average heal time is 6-12 weeks and will not cause scarring
- 1 in 4 people will experience mild to severe itching.
- This rash can also cause fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, nausea, mild fever, headaches, and a considerable amount of stress and low self-esteem.
- Try not to freak out (I wigged out and it seemed worse), also eliminate as much stress from your life as possible until you are fully healed.
It is advised to visit a dermatologist to make sure what you are experiencing is in fact Pityriasis rosea. The good news is, this skin disorder usually only shows up one time in someones life and can easily be treated at home until it goes away. This rash is NOT contagious. You may find a combination of the treatments below work best for you, or that only a few will work.
- Use OTC pain medication for inflammation, headaches, and fever
- Use benadryl as an antihistamine
- Gold Bond medicated powder and cortisone cream can control daytime itchiness
- Soaking in an oatmeal bath will also help discomfort from itching
- In extreme cases, steroids can be prescribed, like Prednisone (if you are on a steroid do not use cortisone creams). Also keep in mind that most prescriptions medications lower your immunity and have nasty side effects, so it's best to avoid them when possible, use as a last resort. If you have any form of Herpes simplex virus, do not take steroid medication for this rash. Doing so can result in an HSV outbreak. Speak with your doctor or dermatologist about other options.
- Diaper rash ointment can also be helpful
- Washing with Head and Shoulders on your body can be helpful
- Keep your skin clean, and don't scratch, pick or scrub when showering
- Use cold compresses, avoid exercise, or clothing that suffocates and overheats your body
- Shower in the coldest water you can tolerate and avoid heavy perfumed soaps
- Sun exposure can also help lesions heal more quickly
- Take garlic capsules, vitamin D, vitamin C, and zinc to boost your immune system
- L-Lysine can help retard viral reproduction
- Get plenty of rest and water
- Don't be alarmed if the rash continues to spread after the 7-14 Herald patch arrives, you should see a decline in new rash patches within secondary arrival in about 14 days
- Eliminate as much stress as possible from your life
© 2013 Rebecca