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How does pityriasis rosea affect the body?

Pityriasis rosea is a rash that starts in a small spot on the torso. People may notice signs that they have a fever and aches before the rash even appears. Within a couple of weeks, the rash will spread in the form of small spots on the rest of the body. If patches appear on the back they may be in a Christmas-tree shape. At least half of the people with pityriasis rosea find the rash to be itchy, especially the when skin is warm (as in a hot shower); itching can be severe, and sometimes the spots heal but stay brown for a prolonged time. Pityriasis rosea usually lasts for 2-8 weeks, but may last longer.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

The harmless rash of pityriasis rosea comes on suddenly, hangs around for about 12 weeks max, and then disappears. Just like celebrity couples. The rosy salmon-colored scaly patches are usually found on the trunk, upper back, chest, and abdomen but can also crop up under the arms, in the groin, and on the shins. Some people experience flu-like symptoms (headache, stuffy nose, mild fever, sore throat) before the rash appears. Once the rash shows up, it typically appears in a large “mother” patch (herald patch) around two to five centimeters (cm) in size, so as small as a quarter or as large as a small matchbox car. Then a few weeks later, baby rashes crop up all over that sometimes line up to look like a Christmas tree (no joke!). The rash may or may not itch, but if it itches, there’s a chance it will itch worse than the scratchy sweater your grandmother knit for you (sorry Grandma!).

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Pityriasis causes a skin rash resembling the shape of a pine tree on the chest or back. The rash may itch, but otherwise the impacts are limited.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.