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.

24 Replies to “It wasn’t Chicken Pox, it was Pityriasis Rosea”

    1. It is a virus, thus can come from anywhere. We had also never heard of the disease; I’m very happy that I have a family doctor is amazingly knowledgeable.

    1. Well most thought he had chicken pox, so it was the usually eww and you poor guy reaction. You also couldn’t see the rash since it was just on his torso, thus no one knew anything was even wrong. Plus at first he didn’t want anyone to know, it took him a few weeks to get used to it, and then let mom blog about it. I explained that this type of post is helpful to parents, so he agreed as long as there were no pictures.

  1. Ewww, poor kid. I’m glad he’s not feeling so itchy-scratchy now. One of my daughters seems to get odd rashes from time to time. It’s miserable, especially when on the neck area where she thinks EVERYONE can see them!

  2. Thanks for sharing this post. It is always frustrating to receive a wrong diagnosis from a doctor. I’m glad the young man was properly diagnosed, and that he is better. I am also happy that I know what to look out for should this happen to any of my kids!

    1. You are welcome. I don’t think the doctor was really wrong with his first diagnosis, it did look like chicken pox. It wasn’t until after another week, when his break-out was far worse that the doctor could accurately figure out what the heck he had.

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