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Causes of Pityriasis Rosea

Causes of Pityriasis Rosea Causes of Pityriasis Rosea Causes of Pityriasis Rosea

Pityriasis rosea is a specific type of skin rash that is usually harmless unless it occurs in a pregnant woman. In those with light colored skin, it often begins as a small red or pink circular spot that is scaly. For those with darker skin, the spots may be gray, dark brown or black. Within days, additional patches appear in clusters. This condition most commonly occurs on the abdomen, chest, back, arms, legs and neck. In some cases, the rash disappears within weeks on its own, without any treatment. In other cases, it can become itchy and cause additional symptoms. While the exact cause of this condition often remains unknown, there are treatment options available when needed.

Virus

There is currently no known cause of pityriasis rosea; however, there is some speculation that it may be triggered by a virus. The same viruses responsible for a herpes infection, HHV6 or HHV7, may also cause this type of skin rash. In these cases, just before the rash appears, flu-like symptoms may be present. These include headache, fever, fatigue, sore throat and nasal congestion. If a virus is suspected, antiviral drugs may help ease the symptoms. The good news is that pityriasis rosea is not contagious.

Medication

This condition may also be a side effect of a medication, warns the Cagliari University Dermatology Online Journal. Common medications that cause this reaction include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and hydrochlorothiazide, which are both used to treat high blood pressure; allopurinol, which treats gout; nimesulide, which reduces inflammation; acetylsalicylic acid, or aspirin: and antibiotics.

In most cases, discontinuation of the medication resolves the symptoms. However, since the rash can be mild, patients may not always report this side effect to their physicians. It is always best to discuss any reaction to a medication with a health care provider, to rule out serious complications.

Risk Factors

Having a risk factor for a medical condition does not mean that the disease will automatically occur; it just means that there is an increased risk of occurrence. In the case of pityriasis rosea, there are no risk factors that can be controlled. However, the NYU Langone Medical Center states that this skin condition usually occurs between the ages of 10 to 35, and is more common in the spring and fall. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, pityriasis rosea usually occurs only once in a lifetime.

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