Another common skin disease that kids often get, especially in the fall, is pityriasis rosea. Chances are you have never heard of this rash, so let’s dive right into what it is!
(Photo from the American Academy of Dermatology)
What is Pityriasis Rosea?
Pityriasis rosea is a skin condition that causes patches on the skin. Typically, there is one large patch (called a mother or herald patch) with several smaller patches (called “daughter patches”).
What does it look like?
The patches look like a rash. On people with fair to olive-toned skin, the patches are generally pink or rose-colored. In dark skin, the patches vary in color from violet to dark gray.
Typically, when someone gets pityriasis rosea, it starts with just large patch on the skin that may feel scaly. The patch may get bigger and be the only patch on the skin for about 2 weeks before the daughter patches start to appear. These patches are smaller than the original patch, are oval shaped, and begin to appear on various parts of the body – chest, abdomen, back, arms, and legs. On the back, if many patches appear, a pattern may emerge. Often, the pattern looks like a Christmas tree. In rare cases, they may also appear on the face, neck, palms, soles or even inside the mouth.
The patches may also itch; about half of people with this condition have itchy skin.
Who gets it?
Anyone can get pityriasis rosea, no matter the age or race, but it is most common in people who are between 10 and 35 years of age and in pregnant women. It does not appear to be contagious.
How do I treat it?
Pityriasis rosea generally goes away on its own, without treatment. It typically takes 6-8 weeks to clear, but it may disappear more quickly or more slowly. There is no “cure”, but you may use medications to alleviate the itchiness. After the patches go away, most people do not have another outbreak of the condition.
If you think you may have it, make an appointment to see Dr. Beverly or your dermatologist, in order to verify that you have pityriasis rosea and not another similar skin condition. If you have it, try to use lukewarm water for showers and baths (hot water can make the rash worse) and try to stay cool (overheating can make the rash worse). As mentioned above, ointments may be applied to help with the itching.
For More Information:
American Academy of Dermatology – Pityriasis Rosea
Mayo Clinic – Pityriasis Rosea