Pityriasis Rosea

What is Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis rosea is also called “pityriasis rosea gibert”, its namesake being Camille-Melchior Gibert, a nineteenth century dermatologist. Pityriasis rosea is not malignant and cannot cause permanent harm, but it can be quite painful for those suffering from it. Generally, it lasts a month and a half, or upwards of two months in more severe cases. The absolute worst cases of pityriasis rosea may last upwards of six months. Pityriasis begins with a single painful lesion, usually on the back, called a ‘mother patch’ or ‘herald patch’. It may also be known as a ‘herald lesion’. Following this by about one to two weeks come the rest of the rash, which is spread across most of the body (generalized) but no less painful. Pityriasis rosea has a tendency to be most exacerbated on the torso, but it can also affect the limbs and extremities like the hands and feet. Pityriasis rosea is less common on the face, however.

Who gets Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis rosea does not have a genetic component. It may afflict roughly anyone, but women seem to be affected somewhat more often than men. Individuals between the ages of ten and. Pityriasis rosea, does, however, seem to affect post-pubescent individuals primarily. Individuals that have previously suffered from an upper respiratory tract infection are far more likely to suffer from pityriasis rosea and individuals that have suffered from one comprise 70% of all cases of pityriasis rosea.

What causes Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis rosea is not caused by a virus or a bacterial infection. Pityriasis rosea is additionally not fungal, although it very closely resembles a fungal infection. Strictly speaking, pityriasis rosacea is not contagious. However, ‘outbreaks’ do seem to occur in some close-quarters living situations: locations with shared showers and housing are at the greatest risk. These outbreaks are most frequently reported on sports teams, in gyms, in militaries and in universities. The origin of these outbreaks is not clear.

In fact, as a whole, the origin of pityriasis rosea is not clear. It is most common in the spring and fall. While most seasonal ailments are tied to the temperature of the seasons, it is not the extreme cold of winter or the extreme heat of summer that triggers pityriasis rosea, but it is also not clear why it gravitates then toward spring and autumn. It is possible that there is a link to the various types of plant matter in the air during these seasons.

There is a strong correlation between upper respiratory tract infections and pityriasis rosea. Over two thirds of individuals suffering from pityriasis rosea previously suffered from an upper respiratory tract infection.

What does Pityriasis Rosea cause?

Pityriasis rosea causes extreme discomfort in those that suffer from it. It can be very painful. It can be very itchy. The pain tends to feel as though it is on the surface of the skin, like a rash. The itch, much like a rash, may temporarily abate when scratched but will return shortly afterward. This itch generally gets worse when blood flow is increased. Anything that can increase blood flow may thus trigger the itching of pityriasis rosea; this includes heat and physical exertion.

The skin will inflame and become raised. The raised portion tends to look scabby, as though it had been scraped. Pityriasis rosea looks very much like ringworm or other fungal infections, but it is not fungal in origin.

Pityriasis rosea generally leaves no mark. It is not known for scarring unless the lesions are mechanically excoriated following the healing of the disease. Some individuals find that darker or lighter patches remain on their skin following healing, but that these are not permanent. Darker-skinned individuals are more prone to light patches, and lighter-skinned individuals are more prone to darker patches.

How serious is Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis rosea is not a serious ailment. It may be uncomfortable and it may affect one’s appearance in a way they find unfavorable, but it is not a dangerous skin condition by any stretch. It is not malignant, it does not have any exceptional consequence, it doesn’t contribute in any manner to future cases of cancer, and it is generally a very inconsequential disease. Pityriasis rosea doesn’t even indicate an underlying condition to be concerned with.

The greatest concern of pityriasis rosea lays in its ability to spread in the form of an epidemic to large groups of individuals in shared spaces. This can include people in a military context, on sports teams and in other similar living conditions. This potentiality isn’t fully understood, however. Cases of this epidemic spread are known, but fairly uncommon.

Pityriasis rosea is very rare. Just barely more than one in one thousand individuals will suffer from pityriasis rosea. Of these, most of them have previously suffered from an upper respiratory tract infection. Thus, individuals that have never had one of these infections should almost certainly not worry about any potential outbreak.

What does Pityriasis Rosea treatment look like?

Pityriasis treatment is generally not called for. Because the cause of pityriasis rosea is not understood, there is no direct treatment to cure the ailment. Similarly, there is no vaccine (although the utter lack of possible complications would make a vaccine patently unnecessary).

Treatment may be applied for the sake of comfort. Analgesics may handle particularly itchy or painful cases, although they are generally not so uncomfortable as to require this to maintain a sense of normalcy.

Any excoriation of lesions (that is, scratching that can cause the skin to break) can cause infection and scarring. This can be prevented with any simple topical antibiotic.

In some rare cases, the inflammation and rash of pityriasis rosea simply will not go away. In these circumstances, an anti-inflammatory may be prescribed. This does not actually destroy pityriasis rosea directly, but it does lower the swelling as though it were gone.

The spotting discoloration left by some rare cases of pityriasis rosea is generally not very visible, but it may disturb anyone stuck with it. It is possible to fix this discoloration with some forms of ultraviolet treatment administered by a dermatologist. This can be somewhat expensive, but may be worth it to individuals significantly disturbed by their condition.

Generally, however, pityriasis rosea is simply waited out. It may take some time, but pityriasis rosea will almost always play itself out harmlessly.

How do I know if I have Pityriasis Rosea?

Pityriasis rosea can be diagnosed by a dermatologist. Its symptoms are very mundane and, consequently, they align with the symptoms of any other number of ailments. Diagnosing pityriasis rosea is more a matter of ruling out other ailments. Pityriasis rosea can resemble a number of conditions, including ringworm or other fungal infections and herpes zoster (chicken pox). Some allergic reactions to treatment also fall under this purview, including antibiotics, analgesics and anti-inflammatories.

Pityriasis rosea can be diagnosed with a biopsy, as well. Generally, however, pityriasis rosea simply isn’t severe enough to be worthy of the trouble of a skin biopsy to identify; for the most part, pityriasis rosea can simply be waited on until it burns itself out over the course of a month and a half. Only the truly severe and long-lasting cases are worth concern and specific treatment, and even these do not require intervention: intervention is simply a possible option to make one’s situation more comfortable.

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