Tag Archives: Rash

Poison ivy

Botanical Name :  Rhus Toxicodendron
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Sapindales
Family: Anacardiaceae
Genus:     Toxicodendron
Species: T. radicans

Synonyms: Poison Oak, Poison Vine, Toxicodendron radicans and Rhus radicans

Common Names : Poison ivy, Eastern Poison Oak

Habitat :  Poison ivy  grows throughout much of North America, including the Canadian Maritime provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and all U.S. states east of the Rocky Mountains, as well as in the mountainous areas of Mexico up to around 1,500 m (4,900 ft) (caquistle or caxuistle is the Nahuatl term ). It is normally found in wooded areas, especially along edge areas where the tree line breaks and allows sunshine to filter through. It also grows in exposed rocky areas, open fields and disturbed areas.

It may grow as a forest understory plant, although it is only somewhat shade tolerant.  The plant is extremely common in suburban and exurban areas of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and southeastern United States. The similar species T. diversilobum (western poison oak) and T. rydbergii (western poison ivy) are found in western North America.

Rhus Toxicodendron or Toxicodendron radicans rarely grows at altitudes above 1,500 m (4,900 ft), although the altitude limit varies in different locations. The plants can grow as a shrub up to about 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) tall, as a groundcover 10–25 cm (3.9–9.8 in) high, or as a climbing vine on various supports. Older vines on substantial supports send out lateral branches that may be mistaken for tree limbs at first glance.

It grows in a wide variety of soil types, and soil pH from 6.0 (acidic) to 7.9 (moderately alkaline). It is not particularly sensitive to soil moisture, although it does not grow in desert or arid conditions. It can grow in areas subject to seasonal flooding or brackish water.

It is more common now than when Europeans first arrived in North America. The development of real estate adjacent to wild, undeveloped land has engendered “edge effects”, enabling poison ivy to form vast, lush colonies in these areas. It is listed as a noxious weed in the US states of Minnesota and Michigan and in the Canadian province of Ontario.

Outside North America,Toxicodendron radicans is also found in the temperate parts of Asia, in Japan, Taiwan, the Russian islands of Sakhalin and the Kuriles, and in parts of China.

A study by researchers at the University of Georgia found that poison ivy is particularly sensitive to CO2 levels, greatly benefiting from higher CO2 in the atmosphere. Poison ivy’s growth and potency has already doubled since the 1960s, and it could double again once CO2 levels reach 560 ppm

Description:
There are numerous subspecies and/or varieties of T. radicans , which can be found growing in any of the following forms, all have woody stems:

* as a trailing vine that is 10–25 centimetres (3.9–9.8 in) tall
* as a shrub up to 1.2 metres (3 ft 11 in) tall
* as a climbing vine that grows on trees or some other support
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The deciduous leaves of T. radicans are trifoliate with three almond-shaped leaflets. Leaf color ranges from light green (usually the younger leaves) to dark green (mature leaves), turning bright red in fall; though other sources say leaves are reddish when expanding, turn green through maturity, then back to red, orange, or yellow in the fall. The leaflets of mature leaves are somewhat shiny. The leaflets are 3–12 cm (1.2–4.7 in) long, rarely up to 30 cm (12 in). Each leaflet has a few or no teeth along its edge, and the leaf surface is smooth. Leaflet clusters are alternate on the vine, and the plant has no thorns. Vines growing on the trunk of a tree become firmly attached through numerous aerial rootlets.[5] The vines develop adventitious roots, or the plant can spread from rhizomes or root crowns. The milky sap of poison ivy darkens after exposure to the air.

T. radicans spreads either vegetatively or sexually. It is dioecious; flowering occurs from May to July. The yellowish- or greenish-white flowers are typically inconspicuous and are located in clusters up to 8 cm (3.1 in) above the leaves. The berry-like fruit, a drupe, mature by August to November with a grayish-white colour. Fruits are a favorite winter food of some birds and other animals. Seeds are spread mainly by animals and remain viable after passing through the digestive tract.

Aids for identification:
The following four characteristics are sufficient to identify poison ivy in most situations: (a) clusters of three leaflets, (b) alternate leaf arrangement, (c) lack of thorns, and (d) each group of three leaflets grows on its own stem, which connects to the main vine.

The appearance of poison ivy can vary greatly between environments, and even within a single area. Identification by experienced people is often made difficult by leaf damage, the plant’s leafless condition during winter, and unusual growth forms due to environmental or genetic factors.

Various mnemonic rhymes describe the characteristic appearance of poison ivy:[8]

1.   “Leaflets three; let it be” is the best known and most useful cautionary rhyme. It applies to poison oak, as well as to poison ivy. Even though it is not always true.

2.   “Hairy vine, no friend of mine. ”

3.   “Berries white, run in fright” and “Berries white, danger in sight.

Cultivation : 
Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. Judging by the plants natural habitat, it should also succeed in poor acid soils and dry soils. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. This species is a small suckering shrub, it can spread freely in suitable conditions. There is some confusion over the correct name of this species. It is united with R. radicans (under that name) by some botanists whilst others split this species off into another genus, Toxicodendron, and unite it with R. radicans as Toxicodendron radicans. Many of the species in this genus, including this one, are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Propagation:
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage. Suckers in late autumn to winter.

Edible Uses: Oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Part Used Medicinally: The fresh leaves, from which a fluid extract is prepared.

Constituents: The activity of the drug was formerly ascribed to a fixed oil, Toxicodendrol, but has been attributed more recently to a yellow resin, to which the name Toxicodendrin is applied.

It is Irritant, rubefacient, stimulant, narcotic.

R. Toxicodendron was introduced into England first in 1640, but not used as a medicine till 1798, when Du Fressoy, a physician at Valenciennes, had brought to his notice a young man, who had been cured of a herpetic eruption on his wrist of six years’ standing on being accidentally poisoned by this plant. He thereupon commenced the use of the plant in the treatment of obstinate herpetic eruptions and in palsy, many cases yielding well to the drug. Since then it has rapidly gained a place in general practice, meeting with some success in the treatment of paralysis, acute rheumatism and articular stiffness, and in various forms of chronic and obstinate eruptive diseases.

It is not official in the British Pharmacopoeia, but was formerly official in the United States Pharmacopceia. It is in extensive use by homoeopathists for rheumatism, ringworm and other skin disorders, and is considered by them one of the most useful remedies in a great majority of cases of Nettlerash, especially if caused by some natural predisposition of constitution, in which the eruption is due to the use of some particular food.

The fluid extract, prepared from the fresh leaves, is mostly given in the form of a tincture, in doses of 5 to 30 drops. In small doses it is an excellent sedative to the nervous system, but must be given with care, as internally it may cause gastric intestinal irritation, drowsiness, stupor and delirium.

It has been recommended in cases of incontinence of urine. For this, the bark of the root of R. aromatica is also employed very successfully, an infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water being taken in wineglassful doses.

The fluid extract of R. Toxicodendron can be used as a vesicant or blister producer, like cantharides, mezeron, and oil of Mustard.

The best preparation is a concentrated alcoholic tincture made from the green plant in the strength of 1 in 4. The dose of 25 per cent tincture is given in 1 to 5 drops three times a day. A solid extract is not used owing to the extreme volatility of the active principles of the crude drug.

Its milky juice is also used as an indelible ink for marking linen, and as an ingredient of liquid dressings or varnishes for finishing boots or shoes, though R. venenata is more extensively used for the latter purpose.

Other Uses :
Dye; Ink; Mordant; Oil; Parasiticide; Tannin; Varnish.
The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant. An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The milky juice makes an excellent indelible marking ink for linen etc. It is also used as a varnish for boots and shoes.

Known Hazards: This plant contains toxic substances and skin contact with it can cause severe irritation to some people. The sap is extremely poisonous. The sap contains 3-N pentadecycatechnol. Many people are exceedingly sensitive to this, it causes a severe spreading dermatitis. The toxins only reach the skin if the plant tissues have been damaged, but even indirect contact can cause severe problems.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/ivypoi17.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toxicodendron_radicans

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+toxicodendron

Impatiens capensis

Botanical Name :Impatiens capensis
Family: Balsaminaceae
Genus: Impatiens
Species: I. capensis
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ericales

Synonyms: Impatiens biflora – Walter, Impatiens fulva – Nutt

Common Names: Orange Jewelweed, Common Jewelweed, Spotted Jewelweed, Spotted Touch-me-not, or Orange Balsam  Jewelweed, Wild Balsam. Balsam-weed. Impatiens, Spotted Touch-me-not, Lady’s Eardrops, Lady’s Slipper.

Habitat :Impatiens capensis is native to  N. America – Newfoundland to Saskatchewan. Naturalized in Britain.
It grows  along the banks of rivers and canals, also in low-lying moist woodlands, avoiding acid soils.

Description:
Impatiens capensis is an Annual plant  growing to 1.2m at a fast rate.It is hardy to zone 2. It is in flower from July to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. The plant is self-fertile.
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The flowers are orange with a three-lobed corolla; one of the calyx lobes is colored similarly to the corolla and forms a hooked conical spur at the back of the flower. Plants may also produce non-showy cleistogamous flowers, which do not require cross-pollination. The stems are somewhat translucent, succulent, and have swollen or darkened nodes. The seed pods are pendant and have projectile seeds that explode out of the pods when they are lightly touched, if ripe, which is where the name ‘touch-me-not’ comes from. The leaves appear to be silver or ‘jeweled’ when held underwater, which is possibly where the jewelweed name comes from. .

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool shady site. Plants self-sow in areas where minimum winter temperatures go no lower than -15°c. This plant has seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun.

Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

 

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed; Stem.

The succulent stems, whilst still young and tender, can be cut up and cooked like green beans. Young leaves and shoots – cooked. They contain calcium oxalate crystals. Calcium oxalate is usually destroyed by thorough cooking. Large quantities of the leaves are purgative. See also the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses:

Antidote; Poultice; Stings; Warts.
The juice from the broken stem is a well-known folk remedy for poison ivy rash. It also works on poison oak. Can be frozen into small ice cubes and used. Also relieves the pain of insect bites, nettle stings, burns, sprains, ringworm and various skin diseases. The juice is also made into an ointment for hemorrhoids, warts and corns. It used to be taken for jaundice and asthma.

Jewelweed was commonly used as a medicinal herb by a number of native North American Indian tribes, and has been widely used in domestic medicine.Along with other species of jewelweed it is a traditional remedy for skin rashes, although controlled studies have not shown efficacy for this purpose  Its main value lies in its external application for wounds and a range of skin complaints. However, it is little used in modern herbalism and is considered to be dangerous and ‘wholly questionable’ when used internally. The herb is antidote, cathartic, diuretic and emetic. An infusion has been used in the treatment of fevers, difficult urination, measles, stomach cramps, jaundice etc. The juice of the leaves is used externally in the treatment of piles, fungal dermatitis, nettle stings, poison ivy rash, burns etc. The sap is used to remove warts. A poultice of the leaves is applied to bruises, burns, cuts etc.

Herbal Baths are a great way to treat widespread rashes, and heat rashes in those hard to reach places that flare up in summer time. A soothing bath of chamomile and oatmeal is a luxurious way to start the healing process. A simple home remedy that most everyone has on hand is baking soda and vinegar. Just add about 2 cups of vinegar and a tablespoon of baking soda to a tepid bath to and relax away the hurt. This simple bath also works well on sunburns. Baths with  tea bags of full of green or black tea will help dry the rashes and stop itching, all for pennies an a bath. For an especially bad rash you may want to use comfrey leaf in your bath or as a skin wash.

Other Uses:

Dye; Fungicide.

The fresh juice obtained from the plant is a fungicide. This juice can be concentrated by boiling it. A yellow dye has been made from the flowers. It can be made from the whole plant.

Known Hazards:Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://digedibles.com/database/plants.php?Impatiens+capensis
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impatiens_capensis
http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy.php?tag=rashes

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_IJK.htm

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Sphaeralcea coccinea

Botanical Name : Sphaeralcea coccinea
Family: Malvaceae
Subfamily: Malvoideae
Genus: Sphaeralcea
Species: S. coccinea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malvales

Synonyms: Malvastrum coccineum

Common Names; Scarlet Globemallow, Alkali Heath, red false globemallow, copper mallow

Habitat : Sphaeralcea coccinea is native to grasslands and prairies of the Great Plains and western regions of northern North America.

Description;
Sphaeralcea coccinea is a perennial plant growing 10–30 cm tall from spreading rhizomes with a low habit. They have grayish stems with dense, star-shaped hairs and alternately arranged leaves. The leaf blades are 2–5 cm long, palmately shaped, and deeply cut, with 3–5 main wedge-shaped segments. The undersides of the leaves have gray hairs. The 2-cm-wide flowers are reddish-orange and saucer-shaped, with 5 notched, broad petals, in small terminal clusters. Plants flower from May to October.Fruits are cheese-shaped capsules composed of 10 or  more 1-seeded carpels. Each carpel about 3 mm long, densely hairy on the back, net-veined on about 90% of the sides.

CLICK  &  SEE  THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
This plant’s Navajo name came from the sticky mixture that occurs when the roots and leaves are pounded and soaked in water.  The resulting sticky infusion is put on sores to stop bleeding and is used as a lotion for skin disease.  The dried powdered plant is used as dusting powder.  It is one of the life medicines and is used as a tonic to improve the appetite, and to cure colds, coughs and flu.  The roots were used to stop bleeding, and they were also chewed to reduce hunger when food was scarce. The leaves are slimy and mucilaginous when crushed, and they were chewed or mashed and used as poultices or plasters on inflamed skin, sores, wounds and sore or blistered feet. Leaves were also used in lotions to relieve skin diseases, or they were dried, ground and dusted on sores.  Fresh leaves and flowers were chewed to relieve hoarse or sore throats and upset stomachs. Whole plants were used to make a sweet-tasting tea that made distasteful medicines more palatable. It was also said to reduce swellings, improve appetite, relieve upset stomachs, and strengthen voices. The Dakota heyoka chewed the plants to a paste and rubbed it on their skin as protection from scalding.  The tea is very effective for a raspy, dry, sore throat; and, like its relative Malva, it will soothe the urinary tract when urination is painful.  The tea is used for bathing infants to prevent or retard thrush, and to soothe chafing.  It is soothing to almost any skin rash in adults and children.  Strong decoction, 4-6 fluid ounces up to 4 times a day for internal use, as needed externally.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphaeralcea_coccinea
http://montana.plant-life.org/species/sphaer_cocc.htm
http://www.conps.org/slide%20shows/foothills%20wildflowers%20in%20the%20metro-denver%20chapter%20area/pages/sphaeralcea%20coccinea.htm
http://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=SPCO
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/forb/sphcoc/all.html

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Some Health Quaries & Answers

If the shoe fits
Q: I want to buy a sports shoe but they seem to range in price from less than Rs 500 to Rs 10,000. How do I know which one to buy?


A: When buying a sports shoe it is important to consider what you will be using it for. Is it to walk, run, for serious aerobics or just as a fashion statement?

If it is for exercise then you need to go to a sports store and ask for a shoe designed specifically for the particular activity you wish to do.

Look at a few shoes. Before selecting a shoe:

Look at it head on to make sure it is perfectly symmetrical.

See if the tongue is laced with the shoe. That way it will not slip around placing the eyelets in contact with your foot. That is potentially injurious.

Make sure the sole “gives” by bending the shoe.

There should be a little space between your toe and the tip of the shoe. Shoes do not “loosen” with use. Your foot will get damaged before that happens. Nor will you “grow” into a shoe that is too large.

Buy your shoe in the evening when your foot is slightly swollen from the days activity.

The colour is the least important criteria. With use, all shoes eventually become the same colour.
You may click to see : How to Choose Sports Shoes

Grey smoke
Q: My hair is prematurely grey — I am only 29 years old. My mother says it is because I started smoking in college. Is that true?

A: Your mother is right. The nicotine in cigarettes does cause premature greying. That is however the least of the problems it causes. It also weakens your bones, precipitates heart attacks and causes cancer.

Stroke effect
Q: My father had a stroke (brain attack) and now he mumbles his words. Food drools out of the side of his mouth when he eats. He also cannot close one eye.

A: Your father has lost the use of one side of his body. Paralysis of the eyelid muscles prevents him from closing his eye fully. Similarly, the muscles for speech and swallowing are affected.

He will improve to some extent with physiotherapy. You need to make sure that he does not have a second stroke by treating any pre-existing disease like diabetes, hypertension or high lipids that caused the first stroke.

You need to protect his eye by closing it manually, placing a gauze piece over it and taping it shut with medical tape.

Facial paralysis
Q: My forty-year-old aunt developed isolated paralysis of one side of the face. She opted for ayurvedic treatment and recovered. She is not diabetic nor does she have high blood pressure. What was wrong with her?

A: She seems to have developed a condition called Bell’s palsy, paralysis of the facial nerve. Quite often it is due to an infection with the Herpes virus. In 80 per cent cases recovery is spontaneous and complete. This is probably the category to which your aunt, fortunately for her, belonged.

Lens safety
Q: I want to use a pair of contact lenses to change the colour of my eyes. Is it safe?


A: These are called novelty lenses as they only have cosmetic value. If novelty contact lenses are not properly fitted or if care instructions are ignored, they can cause corneal damage and loss of sight. Eye infections can occur if the lenses are not thoroughly sterilised prior to each use.

This seems a high price to pay for an altered appearance. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Shampoo time
Q: How often should I wash my hair?


A: It depends on how dirty your hair becomes, but three times a week is about average. There is no need to use a lot of shampoo. About a Re 1 coin sized dollop is sufficient.
You may click to see : How often should I wash my hair?

Fast food
Q: My son loves instant noodles. He eats them 3-4 times a day. He is 4 years old.


A: Noodles are a good snack once or twice a week, but they should not substitute for good wholesome home cooked food. Some times the instant variety of noodles contains preservatives or ajinomoto. Both these ingredients are best avoided in children’s food.

Rash shave
Q: I got a shave at a barber shop and now, after two weeks, I have developed boils and rashes all over my beard area.

A: This is a very common infection which is either due to the bacteria S. aureus, or a fungus or due to ingrowth of thick beard.

It responds well to hot fomentation, cleansing with a bactericidal soap and local application of ointment. A dermatologist can usually determine accurately whether the infection is fungal or bacterial and prescribe the appropriate ointment. Applying steroid cream will worsen the condition. It usually clears up in a few weeks but can recur. It is probably better to shave at home.

Source : The Telegraph (kolkata, India)

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Pityriasis rosea

Definition:
Some people say Pityriasis rosea (also known as “Pityriasis rosea Gibert“) is a skin rash. It is non-dangerous but may inflict substantial discomfort on some sufferers.  Classically, it begins with a single “herald patch” lesion, followed in 1 or 2 weeks by a generalized body rash lasting about 6 weeks

Pityriasis rosea is common type of skin rash seen between the ages of ten and 35. It is a skin rash that often sweeps out from the middle of your body, with a shape that resembles drooping pine-tree branches. Pityriasis (pit-ih-RI-uh-sis) rosea usually begins as one large spot on your chest, abdomen or back and then spreads.

The cause isn’t known, but a viral infection is suspected (though it doesn’t seem to be contagious).The overall prevalence of  Pityriasis rosea in the United States has been estimated to be 0.13% in men and 0.14% in women.
You may click to see Pictures of Pityriasis rosea
Symptoms:
The symptoms of Pityriasis rosea include:

*An upper respiratory tract infection may precede all other symptoms in as many as 69% of patients

*A single, 2- to 10-cm oval red “herald” patch appears, classically on the abdomen.  Occasionally, the”herald” patch may occur in a ‘hidden’ position (in the armpit, for example) and not be noticed immediately. The “herald” patch may also appear as a cluster of smaller oval spots, and be mistaken for acne. Rarely, it does not become present at all.

*7-14 days after the herald patch, large patches of pink or red, flaky, oval-shaped rash appear on the torso. In 6% of cases an inverse distribution may occur, with rash mostly on the extremities. The more numerous oval patches generally spread widely across the chest first, following the rib-line in a characteristic “christmas-tree” distribution.  Small, circular patches may appear on the back and neck several days later. It is unusual for lesions to form on the face, but they may appear on the cheeks or at the hairline.

*About one-in-four people with PR suffer from mild to severe symptomatic itching. (Moderate itching due to skin over-dryness is much more common, especially if soap is used to cleanse the affected areas.) The itching is often non-specific, and worsens if scratched. This tends to fade as the rash develops and does not usually last through the entire course of the disease.

*The rash may be accompanied by low-grade fever, headache, nausea and fatigue. Over-the-counter medications can help manage these

Causes:
The cause of pityriasis rosea is not certain, but its clinical presentation and immunologic reactions suggest a viral infection as a cause.  Also, HHV-7 is frequently found in healthy individuals, so its etiologic role is controversial.

It is not contagious,  though there have been reports of small epidemics in fraternity houses and military bases, schools and gyms.

Complications:
Complications of pityriasis rosea aren’t likely, but if they do occur, they may include:

*Severe itching
*Lasting brown spots after the rash has healed, on dark skin

Diagnosis:
Identification of pityriasis rosea can be challenging for a number of reasons. The diagnosis is unclear at the onset of symptoms, and there are no noninvasive tests that confirm the condition. In at least one half of patients, the first symptoms of pityriasis rosea are nonspecific and consistent with a viral upper respiratory infection.1,5 A herald patch then appears, typically on the trunk. This large lesion is commonly 2 to 10 cm in diameter, ovoid, erythematous, and slightly raised, with a typical collarette of scale at the margin.....PIC-1 . At this stage, however, the diagnosis usually remains unclear. Microscopic examination of potassium hydroxide preparations shows no fungal elements. The lesion cannot be differentiated from eczema and often is treated as such.

A few days to a few weeks after the appear ance of the herald patch, crops of smaller lesions, 5 to 10 mm in diameter, develop across the trunk and, less commonly, on the extremities. These lesions are salmon colored, ovoid, raised, and have the same collarette of scale as the herald patch.…PIC-2... . At this stage, the diagnosis usually is clear, particularly if the physician can observe or elicit a history of the herald patch.
If the diagnosis is uncertain, especially if the palms and soles are affected and the patient is sexually active, the physician should consider the possibility of secondary syphilis. Appropriate evaluation includes direct fluorescent antibody testing of lesion exudates, a VDRL test, or dark-field microscopy.11 Other conditions in the differential diagnosis include diffuse nummular eczema, tinea corporis, pityriasis lichenoides, guttate psoriasis, viral exanthem, lichen planus, and medication reaction.

The smaller secondary lesions of pityriasis rosea follow Langer’s lines ..PIC-3.. When the lesions occur on the back, they align in a typical “Christmas tree” or “fir tree” pattern. Elsewhere on the body, the lesions follow the cleavage lines as follows: transversely across the lower abdomen and back, circumferentially around the shoulders, and in a V-shaped pattern on the upper chest12...PIC-4. Pruritus is variable. Except for mild to severe itching in 25 percent of patients, no systemic symptoms typically are present during the rash phase of pityriasis rosea.

Biopsy usually is not indicated in the evaluation of patients with suspected pityriasis rosea. Histology has shown that in addition to non-specific subacute and chronic inflammation, 55 percent of specimens contain epidermal cells that display dyskeratotic degeneration.14

Worsening of the rash or a second wave of lesions is not uncommon before eventual spontaneous resolution of the eruption. Recurrence of the condition later in life is rare.

Although no causal link has been established, multiple drugs have been associated with an extensive and often prolonged form of pityriasis rosea . A review of the literature shows that single case reports account for most of the drug associations.

Treatment:
No treatment is usually required.

Oral antihistamines or topical steroids may be used to decrease itching.[5] Steroids do provide relief from itching, and improve the appearance of the rash, but they also cause the new skin that forms (after the rash subsides) to take longer to match the surrounding skin color. While no scarring has been found to be associated with the rash, itching and scratching should be avoided. Irritants such as soap should be avoided, too; a soap containing moisturizers (such as goat’s milk) may be used, however, any generic moisturizer can help to manage over-dryness.

Direct sunlight makes the lesions resolve more quickly. According to this principle, medical treatment with ultraviolet light has been used to hasten resolution, though studies disagree whether it decreases itching or not. UV therapy is most beneficial in the first week of the eruption

Prognosis:
In most patients, the condition lasts only a matter of weeks; in some cases it can last longer (up to six months). The disease resolves completely without long-term effects. Two percent of patients have recurrence.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/pityriasisrosea.shtml
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000871.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pityriasis-rosea/DS00720
http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/0101/p87.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pityriasis_rosea

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