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Pediatric Pityriasis Rosea
Key Points About Pityriasis Rosea in Children
- Pityriasis rosea is a mild, common rash. It causes the skin to be scaly, pink and inflamed.
- The rash is often seen in children, teens and young adults.
- The rash will get better on its own in one to three months.
- Pityriasis rosea is not thought to be contagious.
- The goal of treatment is easing discomfort and itching.
Pityriasis rosea is a mild, common rash. It causes the skin to be scaly, pink and inflamed. The rash can last from one to three months and often leaves no lasting marks. This rash is not thought to be contagious.
How to Say it
Experts don’t know what causes pityriasis rosea. It is believed to be caused by a virus. It is usually seen in children, teens and young adults. Some children may have a cold before the rash. The rash is more common in spring and fall.
The rash often starts with a large pink or tan oval area on the chest, stomach or back. This patch (herald patch) is often followed by smaller pink or tan patches elsewhere on the body. They often show up on the back, neck, arms and legs. The scaly rash often begins to heal on its own in four to six weeks and will go away by 14 weeks.
Below are other common symptoms of pityriasis rosea. But each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Severe tiredness (fatigue)
The symptoms of pityriasis rosea may look like other skin conditions or health problems. Always talk with your child’s health care provider for a diagnosis.
The rash is fairly unique. Pityriasis rosea is often diagnosed based on a health history and physical exam of your child. Your child may also need blood tests to rule out other conditions that might look like pityriasis rosea.
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
The goal of treatment for pityriasis rosea is to ease symptoms such as itching. The rash will go away on its own. Treatment will be decided by your child’s health care provider based on how bad the rash is. Treatment may include:
- Medicated lotions and creams
- Medicines taken by mouth
- Cool baths with or without oatmeal
- Ultraviolet exposure
- Cool compresses
Pityriasis rosea is a mild skin rash that will get better on its own. You should call your child’s health care provider if:
- Your child becomes very sick.
- The rash doesn't get better or gets worse.
- Itching or other symptoms cause your child a lot of discomfort.
- Your child gets a secondary bacterial infection from scratching the rash.
Learn about treatment
Dermatology Treatment at Children's National Hospital
The pediatric specialists at Children's National Hospital have the expertise to diagnose, treat and manage conditions of the skin, nails and hair common in infant and younger patients. Discover more about the treatments we offer.
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