A person often has cold-like symptoms before the rash appears. These may be:
- Lack of energy
- Sore throat
The rash starts with one large, oval, and scaly patch on the back, stomach, armpit, or chest. In time, a person may also have:
- Rose-colored patches that may have scaly edges
- Mild to severe itching
- Itching that gets worse when the body overheats, such as with exercise or after a shower
- Skin redness or swelling
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the skin. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.
If the diagnosis is unclear, you may need to see a doctor who treats the skin. A sample of the skin may be tested. This can be done with a biopsy.
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The rash usually goes away on its own in about six weeks. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms during this time. Choices are:
- Supportive care, such as warm oatmeal baths and using moisturizer
- Medicines to ease itching, such as:
- Antiviral medicines
- Ultraviolet light therapy to speed healing
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
American Osteopathic College of Dermatology http://www.aocd.org
The College of Family Physicians of Canada http://www.cfpc.ca
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
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Pityriasis rosea. Family Doctor—American Academy Family Physician website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/pityriasis-rosea. Accessed March 5, 2021.
Pityriasis rosea: an overview. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/pityriasis-rosea. Accessed March 5, 2021.
Villalon-Gomez JM. Pityriasis Rosea: Diagnosis and Treatment. Am Fam Physician. 2018 Jan 1;97(1):38-44.