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What is pityriasis rosea?
This is a self limiting inflammatory rash of the skin.
Who gets it?
Adolescents and young adults of all races
What causes it?
This is uncertain but it is thought to be caused by a virus.
What does the rash look like?
It usually starts with one single oval scaly patch on the skin which may be pink or dark in colour. The scaling tends to be towards the edge of the patch (resembling ‘ringworm’ of the skin). This is followed 10 to 14 days later by a number of similar but smaller lesions in a ‘T-shirt and shorts’ pattern (neck, trunk, upper arms and thighs).
How long does it last?
The rash usually goes away after 6 to 10 weeks and does not usually return in the future.
How can it be treated?
There is no cure but treatment can be given to make the patient more comfortable and to help control the rash. Antihistamines can be given for itching. Moisturization is important and mild to moderate topical steroids may be prescribed. In severe cases, a short course of oral steroids may be given, and hospitalization may be required.