Category Archives: Herald Patch

It wasn’t Chicken Pox, it was Pityriasis Rosea

A few weeks ago the young man broke out in a strange rash on his torso. At first glance chicken pox came to mind. Now he had had chicken pox as a child, but since his sister had the virus twice, I figured the same with the young man. We didn’t give it a second thought at the time. After about another week or so, I thought it was best he see our doctor because I was no longer sure he had the chicken pox.

At his appointment, our doctor agreed, it did appear the young man had chicken pox but he would have to see him again to confirm. Another week went by and the rash was getting worse, along with the itchiness, with no sign of abating. Plus, it was only on my son’s torso, buttocks, and upper thighs, which again made me question the diagnoses.

Another appointment was made with our physician, and at this time, after further investigation, he informed my son that he had a skin rash called Pityriasis Rosea (adding “look, there’s even a Wikipedia page on it!” (Inserts laughter)). Note: We have been blessed to have, for the past twenty-two years, an absolutely excellent family physician. After putting his shirt back on, the doctor asked my son if he minded taking it off again, so his intern could have a look, being that Pityriasis Rosea is quite a rare condition.

The doctor explained the rash would last about six weeks in total, and the itching may get worse before it started to disappear. To top it off, since little is known about the virus, all my son could do was take an antihistamine in hope that it would relieve the itching. If necessary, the doctor could prescribe a corticosteroid.

In total the young man ended up having the rash for the entire six weeks. It wasn’t until the fourth week, that it started to fade. Thankfully, there were no lasting side effects. Will he get Pityriasis Rosea again? We don’t know.