My Experience with Pityriasis Rosea

pityriasis roseaAt the time of this post, I am in my seventh week of Pityriasis Rosea. Before being afflicted with this skin rash, I had never heard of it. No one among my family and friends had heard of it either. Since little is known about this skin condition, I decided to share my experience. I hope it will be helpful.

How Did It Start?

It started the week of May 24, 2020. Suddenly, my skin became itchy, but no bumps were present. I couldn’t sleep at night. It felt like bugs were biting me all over. I washed my bedding, but it was to no avail. Then on May 28, 2020, I woke up with three red bumps on my right inner forearm. The bumps were very itchy and in a diagonal line. I innocently chalked it up to mosquito bites since I had fallen asleep in the living room the night before. Then the three red bumps started to spread. 

My Diagnosis

Mosquito bites don’t spread to other parts of your body. Knowing my body, I knew something was wrong. I started researching bug bites and rashes online, which is very scary. To me, ringworm looked very similar to my rash. After purchasing and applying several ringworm creams, I noticed my skin did not get better. It got worse and started to spread even more. The itching burned, and it became challenging to think and to be still. At this point, with my mask and gloves in tow, I decided to venture to my local Urgent Care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thankfully, the waiting room was empty at Urgent Care. The staff at my local office handled everything meticulously due to COVID-19, and I am appreciative. After a 40 minute visit, the doctor took one look at my arms and abdomen and said, “That’s not ringworm. It is Pityriasis Rosea.” She then proceeded to whip out her smartphone and show me how it appeared on people of color. In the pictures, it looked terrible. Little did I know, those pictures would reflect my future in a few weeks.

My Medication

It wouldn’t take me long to realize there is currently no cure for Pityriasis Rosea. My kind doctor prescribed me two medications: 

  • Triamcinolone Acetonide 0.1%
  • Loratadine 10mg

The Triamcinolone Acetonide is a steroid cream. It did help the itching slow, but I didn’t get a large amount. To cover my whole body, I mixed it with Eucerin Eczema Relief Body Cream. Please check with your doctor before you do the same.

The Loratadine is an antihistamine pill. I received a quantity of 30 and took the pill religiously each day. I did notice the itching slowed after taking it, but it alone did not stop the itching.

What Have I Learned So Far?

Pityriasis Rosea isn’t contagious! That should bring relief to you. People between the ages of 10 – 35 years and pregnant women are at a higher risk.

pityriasis rosea
Pityriasis Rosea on my arm at week 4.

It is more common in the spring and fall seasons, but it can happen at other times, which was my case.

Pityriasis Rosea can last between one to three months.

It usually begins with a single, large oval patch called a herald patch. The herald patch will appear a week or more before the rest of the rash appears. In my case, I never saw a herald patch, but there is a chance it was on my back, and I didn’t see it. The rest of the patches (rash) will quickly appear on the chest, abdomen, back, arms, and legs. 

The color of the rash depends on your skin color. If you are fair skin, it may appear pink or red. If you are darker, then it may appear gray or purple. The rash will be mostly flat and sometimes can be slightly raised and felt with a finger. It will have a finely crinkled and have a scaly ring around the edge. 

When your skin starts to peel and flake, you are entering the healing stage. 

In addition to the itching, which I found unbearable at times, you may also experience the following:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Sore throat
  • Mild fever

If you believe you have Pityriasis Rosea, please see a medical professional.

If you have experienced Pityriasis Rosea, please share your experience below in the comments. A post will be published once the rash is over. Stay tuned for an update.

Video credit: Dr Dray | YouTube

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