“ A human skin disease that appears in numerous patches of pink or red oval rash, mainly on the torso. No treatment is required and in some cases exposure to sunlight or operated UV therapy can improve the condition. „
As per a couple of my reviews recently (on calamine lotion and mepore wound dressings), I'm suffering from Pityriasis rosea at the moment - before getting this condition I'd never heard of it, so I hope that this review is of help to some people out there who might be going through the same thing.
What is it?
At the most basic level Pityriasis is a rash. That said it's more than just your standard rash - it's believed to be caused by a virus, but medical professionals don't know a huge amount about it from the reading I've done (I'm guessing as it doesn't cause long term health issues, they feel that money is better spent researching more serious conditions).
This rash starts as a 'herald patch' which is a round/oval shape, which will appear on your body with no prior symptoms and you will often not be diagnosed with pityriasis rosea until the full rash has developed - before this point the hearld patch can be mistaken for any manner of skin issues, I had people suggesting mine could be anything from excema to ringworm, scabies or lyme disease!
Sometime after the appearance of the herald patch, a rash will spread across your body, usually with the exception of the face and neck. Like many rashes these are raised red bumps that can be incredibly itchy.
How do you get it?
As mentioned it's thought to be some sort of virus, but what exactly no one knows. Apparently though a large proportion of people who get it, have recently suffered from some sort of upper respiratory tract infection - my herald patch appeared immediately after I had my one and only cold of the year. I'm guessing that these infections lower your bodies immune system and allow the virus to take hold on the body.
Who gets it?
Anyone can but it's most commonly found in people between teenage years and their 40's.
What do you do about it?
Well you should go to the doctor to get a confirmed diagnosis, just to rule out anything else that could require specific treatment. Unfortunately there is nothing doctors can give you to cure this, it's something you essentially have to let go on its own, a bit like the common cold. The only thing you can really do is treat the symptoms - this can take the form of antibiotics, steroid creams and antihistamines as well as over the counter lotions like calamine and E45. I did read that sunlight on the rash is supposed to help, but unfortunately we haven't had any real sun since I developed the condition so I was unable to put this to the test.
How long does it last?
Apparently the normal time scale is a couple of months, but if you're unlucky it can last up to 6 months. Most sufferers are only affected once in their life, but you can get it multiple times if you're unlucky.
About a month ago now I noticed 4 tiny little bumps on my left forearm that were a bit itchy, but I didn't think much of it. A week passed and I now had a roundish patch on my arm that looked quite like excema and was about the size of a 50p coin, by the following week it had grown to larger than a £2 coin and was an aggressive red colour, it was raised around the edges and the individual bumps were like mini blisters that kept bursting a weeping.
For the most part I was feeling ok, but one day at work I was in the middle of serving a customer when my body got so hot I thought I would faint, I managed to struggle through the conversation (just) then told my boss I had to go lay down on the top floor of the building (which is quite cool) as I was burning up. When I came back down about 10 minutes later he said my face was completely drained of colour and I could stay sitting down in the office if I wanted or go home. As I was feeling a bit more like myself by this point though I carried on with work and he said my colour came back within the next quarter of an hour. I'm assuming this was part of my developing condition, but there's no way to know for sure.
At this point I decided I should see a doctor. Unfortuanely he said he wasn't sure what it was, but it looked like it was starting to spread outside the initial circle so he put me on antibiotics and a steroid cream, told me to keep the 'wound' covered and to come back if it carried on getting worse. That was on a Monday. On Tuesday I noticed a couple of bumps on the fingers of my right hand when I got up that morning, by the evening more had appeared on my left hip and my feet, by Wednesday morning it also covered my legs from my knees to my bum and the itch was driving me so mad I couldn't think of anything else - whenever I gave in to the urge it created an itch scratch cycle and the itching made my whole body feel so hot that I felt like I was on fire. I duly made another appointment, this time with the oncall doctor, but that wasn't until the afternoon so I got some antihistamines from the pharmacy and rubbed ice cubes over the itchiest parts of the rash.
I'd been researching online and come across something called Pityriasis rosea which seemed to fit the syptoms I was experiencing, albeit I had it in more of an inverse pattern (most people suffer from the majority of the rash on the trunk of their body, mine was mostly on the limbs).
I showed the on call doctor the rash and said what I thought it might be - she actually went online and googled it, then said 'yes I suppose it does look like that' but she didn't want to say whether she thought I had it or not, so told me to just continue with the antibiotics and see another doctor at the surgery who had a particular interest in skin complaints, so I made an appointment to see him on the Friday.
Friday morning came and the rash was on: my left forearm, both hands, right upper arm, a small amount on my upper back, a small amount around my belly button, left hip, all of my bum, thighs and knees and my feet. Unfortunately the rash on my feet was on my toes and the soles so it really hurt to walk - I was limping around everywhere at a slow pace. Furthermore the individual bumps all seemed to merge together to form one large red raised mass.
This final trip to the doctor though was fruitful - I showed him my arm and the rash on other parts of my body but didn't mention what I thought it was, I wanted to see if he came to that conclusion on his own and he did. Unfortunately he couldn't tell me anything about it I hadn't already read, but it was nice to have a proper diagnosis.
Luckily by the next Monday the bumps of the rash were going back down so while I was still itchy, it didn't hurt to walk anymore, the next day I noticed it itched less hooray!
As I'm writing this my hands now look normal again, the largest rash areas are now flush with the rest of my skin and no longer itchy but they are still red pigmented which can apparently last for some time, but will eventually fade.
The herald patch is still the most obvious thing, but it's much improved - it's still a red ring and it's still itchy, but it no longer weeps. The whole area has been very dry and the skin has been flaking off, but this is apparently part of the healing process - I'm now just rubbing E45 into the area to keep it moisturised.
I'm just wishing that I don't ever get this again as I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
It's not exactly nice viewing, but if anyone wants to look, here are some photos of my arm arm showing the progress of the herald patch: http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d114/bertikins/rash.jpg
My tips if you do suffer from it:
- Keep the area moisturised, especially the herald patch (E45 is good for this and has no known side effects)
- If you have to give in to the itch, try scratching around the rash - this helped a bit for me
- Cold helps stop itching - ice cubes provided some relief for me.
If anyone gets odd things wrong with them its always me! I am known in my family to always get unusual things wrong with me that no-one else in my family has ever suffered from!
***MY LATEST EXPERIENCE/STORY***
It's Saturday night, I'm getting in the bath ready for my night out with the girls, we're hitting the town tonight! I notice I've got a few red spots on the front of my thighs, but put it down to shaving and using a body scrub the day before.
I also noticed I had a dry patch of skin on my chest on the left-hand side, but thought nothing of it. So anyway, I had my bath and got ready for my night out and went into town with the girls.
I didn't feel myself and I had trouble drinking anything . . After about 2 drinks I was sick and I felt really tired. Please bear in mind, I'm not sick even after about 10 drinks!! I was also quite out of breath and had to take my asthma inhaler which I haven't needed to take for over 1 year!
Anyway, I noticed the Sunday morning when I got back got my boyfriends at about 5:30am, that I also had small spots appearing my on stomach. I thought it may just be an allergy to something and thought nothing of it.
Sunday afternoon, the posts hadn't disappeared and all I managed to eat all day was a bacon sarnie . .and even that was a struggle! I had such a bad headache and felt quite sick.
I woke up Monday and found it a struggle to eat breakfast, I managed 3 spoonfuls of cereal and small salad for lunch and that's it. I also had a banging headache and felt pretty unwell.
Monday night, my rash began to itch (my friend insisted I did the tumbler test), so I did and the spots faded, so I was safe from meningitis at least! In bed my stomach was itching and I tried so hard not to scratch.
Tuesday morning I decided to make a docs appointment (couldn't get one until Wednesday), so I went to work Tuesday as normal itching every now and again. I still haven't got much of an appetite and just about manage to eat a sandwich. Tuesday night my rash has got worse!
The rash now covers my stomach and the front of my thighs, my chest and is starting to appear on my arms and I've also got patchy skin on my face.
I've got a friend birthday at the weekend and I've paid for my seat in the limousine, I feel really down, there's no way I can wear a sleeveless top, or low cut top or show the top half of my legs either!
I've suffered from Pityriasis Rosea before (about 4 years ago), and I suspected that this was the same thing again, but wanted the doctor to confirm it.
***AT THE DOCTORS***
The doctor asked when the rash came up and I Saturday, seeing as I had the rash for at least 4 days he said it definitely wasn't an allergy. I told him I had, had Pityriasis Rosea twice before and he said that I had indeed got it back again.
He told me there were 2 options, which were to leave it and let it go away on its own or I could try some tablets which may help clear it up, but the tablets have a lot of side effects. The only down-side is that, the tablets may not work at all! I decided to get the tablets anyway, but I haven't taken any of these as yet as the list of sound effects is never ending and the pharmacist explained that because I was on the contraceptive pill, I would likely suffer from bleeding and irregular periods! This I did not want, so at the moment I am bearing with the rash, but if things start to get bad I will start taking the tablets.
The doctor also told me to drink plenty of water to keep myself hydrated as the rash is like a dry, bumpy rash. He also advised me to take vitamins and minerals and this should hopefully help as well. I'm so desperate to get rid of this as quick as possible or at least make it fade so I have been drinking plenty of water all day and have changed my diet so I get plenty of vitamins and minerals.
***DIARY - DAY 6***
Today is my friends birthday and I am unable to go. I have now got the rash on my back, stomach, full length of my arms, thighs, neck and chest. I have tried hundreds of outfits on and nothing seems to be able to cover this rash!
Whilst I was in a Luke-warm bath tonight, I just broke down in tears, I feel so ugly and my confidence has been lowered dramatically! I don't want to see my boyfriend this weekend, because I don't want him to see me like this! He'll still love me for who I am and he understands as I've had it before but this is the worst I have ever had it and I feel like I should belong to a circus, because I look so different!
***DIARY - DAY 7***
I have now had this rash for a whole week and I don't think it itches as much which I see as a good sign. I saw my boyfriend this weekend and he couldn't believe how bad the rash was. He was really shocked when he saw it. He said it looked like measles.
I spent all of the weekend covered up and paranoid about how I looked. I got undressed in the bathroom and got dressed again before my boyfriend woke up. Although I know he understands I think it looks disgusting and I don't want him to see it more than he has to!
I've been using Simple Derma lotion as the rash is very dry now and tonight it has started to itch again, this maybe due to the rash being so dry, so I keep putting lotion on it every few hours. Another Luke-warm bath for me later.
***DIARY - DAY 9***
I went to work today, covered the patchy-ness on my face as much as I could with make-up. I didn't think it was too bad today, I'm definitely itching less than I was, but I've looked at my rash tonight and it has now spread on the back's of my thigh's and there's a few spots on my calves as well. I'm starting to get really angry and even more depressed. I've had it 1 week already, surely its going to start to fade/disappear soon!?
I kept waking up every 2 hours last night in bed because of the itching. It feels quite sore and its very dry today so I've been using Simple Derma lotion on it to help with the dry-ness. I read that the dry skin can make the rash itch.
***RETURNING TO THE DOCTORS***
I have no had this rash for over 1 week and I can't go on with the sleepless nights and the itching. I had another doc's appointment today and he prescribed me steroid tablets. He said he could give me a cream but because the rash is so bad I'd need to bathe in it to get results so he said the tablets were a better option. I also got prescribed some antihistamine as well. Details of what I got prescribed are below:
Prednisolone - These come from a group of medicines called corticosteroids (they should not be confused with anabolic steroids misused by some bodybuilders and athletes.) They are used to treat severe asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and severe skin conditions. These work by reducing the inflammation of the body.
Cetirizine Hydrochloride - This comes from the Antihistamines group and is used to treat redness, swelling and itching of the skin, hay-fever, red and watering eyes and runny blocked up noses.
***FINISHING THE COURSE OF MEDICINE***
Tomorrow is the last day of taking my steroids and anti-histamine. I feel relieved, the itching isn't as bad anymore and the rash definitely isn't as red as it was. I think the rash has now stopped/calmed down, it's just very dry and I have to put moisturiser on it about 3-4 times a day. This is also helping a great deal with the itching. Although the marks from the rash may take another 2-6 weeks to go I am relieved that it's finally disappearing and I have some control over it.
***WHAT IS PITYRIASIS ROSEA?***
It is a common human skin disease which appears as numerous patches of pink or oval rash, mainly on the torso. The condition appears non-contagious.
It can effect males or females at any age. Symptoms are not though to re-occur at all, though the fact that a viral agent is likely involved means that radically different symptoms might be produced by the same agent later in life, and the link could go entirely un-noticed.
(I have suffered from this 3 times now!)
* Large patches of pink/red, flaky, oval shaped rash on the torso.
* Single red "herald" patch can occur 1 - 20 days before smaller, more numerous patches of rash. The "herald" patch may appear in a hidden place such as the armpit and may not be noticed immediately.
* Can Cause loss of breath
* More numerous oval patches generally spread widely across the chest first, following the rib line. Small circular patches may appear on the back and neck several days later. It is unusual for any of the rash to appear on the face, but they may appear on the cheeks or at the hairline.
* If loss of breath occurs, don't do a lot of physical activity.
* About one if four people may suffer from mild to severe itching. This worsens if the rash is scratched, but the itching tends to fade as the rash develops and does not normally last throughout the entire course of the disease.
* This rash may also be accompanied by a low grade headache, fatigue, fever and nausea.
No treatment is usually required (trust me, it really is!!). In most cases, the condition only lasts a few weeks, but in some cases it can last longer (up to six months).
No scarring has been found to be associated with the rash, but itching and scratching should be avoided. Soaps can irritate the rash even more, but any generic moisturiser can help to manage over dryness.
In cases of severe itching topical, or oral steroids may be prescribed which can help provide relief from itching and improve the appearance of the rash, but they can cause the new skin that forms, to take longer to match the surrounding skin colour.
* Have Luke-warm baths, as I find hot baths/showers can irritate and bring out the rash even more.
* Don't scratch the rash, although I know its really hard not to scratch, this can make the rash even more worse and sore as well.
* Drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated and moisturised
* Do buy creams such as Antihistamine creams to help relieve the itching and Calamine lotion can also help to cool and sooth the rash.
* I put some moisturiser in the fridge and put it on the rash before I go to bed . . It may be really cold but it should give you some relief for a while.
* You can try to cover this up with make up but I find this only makes it look worse, it dries the skin out even more and the make up tends to go patchy! I couldn't even get my legs covered up with fake tan, as this didn't even cover the spotty rash either!
* Don't use harsh soaps, I'm literally washing with just water as some soaps can irritate the rash even more.
***PRODUCTS/MEDICINES I TRIED***
I tried so many creams/lotions to stop the itching and the dryness, some of the are listed below. (I was so desperate, I was going to try anything and everything!!)
*Calamine Lotion - This did help to soothe the rash but didn't really relieve the itching for long, and I had to keep re-applying it hourly, but for 79p is a cheap option.
*Simple Derma Intensive Relief - This is especially for dry, sensitive skin prone to eczema & dermatitis. I put this on before I went to bed, to try to help the dryness. I haven't noticed any results yet and I woke myself up in the night scratching my rash, this was about £4.50 for a 400ml bottle so wasn't cheap! I used this 4-5 times a day!
*Eurax lotion - This is meant to stop itching fast and the pharmacist recommended putting it in the fridge which will be even more soothing. This definitely helped out with the itching and I definitely haven't been scratching as much as I was and because I put it in the fridge it feels nice and soothing against my skin. This cost me over £5.00 for 100ml bottle but it was so worth it!
I have had this 3 times now, I'm a 23 year old girl and I love going out clubbing but when this rash appears I go into hiding, because it just seems to take over my body. I can't show my legs, arms, chest or stomach which limits what I can and can't wear. Also if it gets hot in the bar or club where I am this can also irritate the rash as well.
This has actually got me really down and I do find it really depressing, so depressing I seem to be snapping at my boyfriend and at my friends who say things to try and help me I end up shouting at them! I've never been a confident person (as you may have read in a review I wrote a while back), and now I seem to have the confidence back, I get this rash!
Doctors don't see it as a high priority case and they can't really help and this does nothing but frustrates me. I know its not their fault, but when you have had this skin rash 3 times like I have it really gets you down.
The last time I had this rash it lasted at least 3-4 weeks and then I had patchy skin and discoloration in my skin for quite a while afterwards.
I hope your not as unlucky as me to ever get this, especially 3 times, but if you do ever suffer from it, I understand your frustration and if you need someone to chat to, I'm more than happy to chat or listen.
****9 WEEKS LATER***
Its been 9 weeks since I had this rash, and although it has calmed down a lot, I am still left with discoloured patches on my arms and calves. The rash is still on my thighs but is no-where near as bad. My stomach is still bad, but it has faded a lot and is no longer itchy at all!
I've got 4 weeks until my friends birthday and Im hoping and praying that my rash will have totally dissapeared by then . . wish me luck!!
(review also on ciao)