Health News

What’s Going Around is nothing to scratch at.

What’s Going Around is nothing to scratch at. Pityriasis rosea is a common skin rash, believed to be caused by a virus. It usually hits in the fall and spring, but Centra Care physicians treated 7 cases last week! (For reference, a typical week usually brings only 1-2 cases.)


Although pityriasis rosea sometimes occurs in more than one person in a household at a time, it is not thought to be contagious.

The rash starts with a single large patch known as a herald patch. After several days, more skin rashes will appear on the chest, back, arms, and legs.

These rashes:

  • Are pink or pale red
  • Are oval in shape
  • May be scaly
  • May follow lines in the skin or appear in a “Christmas tree” pattern
  • May itch

A Centra Care physician can usually diagnose pityriasis rosea by the way the rash looks.

If symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment. Try gentle bathing, mild lotions, or mild hydrocortisone creams to soothe irritation.

Over the counter antihistamines taken by mouth can be used to reduce itching. Moderate sun exposure may help make the rash go away more quickly, but be careful to avoid sunburn.

Pityriasis rosea usually goes away within 6 – 12 weeks and it doesn’t usually come back.

Source: National Institutes of Health