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Pityriasis rosea is a kind of skin rash. It usually affects the chest and back. The rash may start with a single, large oval patch called a “herald patch.” Smaller patches may appear a few days later. Pityriasis rosea occurs more often in older children and teenagers but anyone can get it. It can cause your child mild discomfort, but it is not a serious problem. It can easily be managed and treated at home.
The cause of pityriasis rosea is unknown. It is not thought to be contagious (able to spread from person to person).
Pityriasis rosea causes a rash made up of small, oval or round patches. The patches are scaly and are pink or light brown. Sometimes the rash spreads in a Christmas-tree pattern on the back. It can also cause itching.
Pityriasis rosea is diagnosed by how it looks. To get more information, the doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. The doctor will also examine your child. You will be told if any tests are needed.
Pityriasis rosea may cause itching for 1–2 weeks. It generally goes away on its own within 6–8 weeks. Most children get better with no treatment.
Give your child over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine medication to relieve itching.
Apply an OTC topical medication, such as hydrocortisone cream, to relieve itching. Each time before and after applying the medication, wash your hands with warm water and soap.
Rash that worsens or becomes painful
Itching that does not respond to home treatment
After healing, your child’s skin may appear darker or lighter in the affected areas. This color change will fade over time.