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If you're reading this, you must have been diagnosed with pityriasis rosea. If you're anything like me, you've probably spent the last few days obsessively reading about it on the web. If you're disappointed by what you've seen (the rash lasting for years, being super painful, etc) then keep on reading! I managed to clear mine up by 90% within the first two weeks of having it.
The day before I noticed the rash, I thought I had a stomach flu. I had just come off a month-long cold and was feeling so nauseous I threw up multiple times. This is part of the virus- it's normal to feel sick in some way before its appearance. My manifestation was like the flu- aches, vomiting, etc. The next morning, I woke up and found myself covered in little spots. I had noticed a few on my back the night before, but I figured they were just bites of some sort. When I looked in the mirror the next morning, however, I was horrified- they were all around my stomach and my back and they were super itchy. I immediately went to the clinic, where I spent the next few hours basically watching the rash spread down my arms. When I finally saw a doctor, they had no clue what it was- they told me it was either Hand, Foot and Mouth disease or chicken pox. They sent me to a dermatologist to be sure so off I went.
Within 10 seconds she diagnosed me with pityriasis rosea. DISCLAIMER: she said I had an atypical case. I had no herald patch (although in the next few days I would develop 4-5 hearld patch looking spots) and the rash had come on super quickly. Relieved it wasn't chicken pox, I asked her how long it would last- and she told me MONTHS. At this point I basically wanted to die and I left her office holding back tears. When I got home, I literally spent the next 48 hours alternating between crying and looking up this awful rash. What I saw stressed me out even more- people saying their rash had lasted years, spread to their faces, was ruining their lives, etc. What I noticed, however, was that many of these people had put off seeing a doctor or had gotten misdiagnosed. I figured that my best chance of beating this thing was treating it as quickly and aggressively as possible.
Let me just say- I had one of the worst cases I've read about. By the fourth day I was literally covered from the top of my neck down to my toes. Nothing was spared- not my feet, not my hands, not my scalp, not my 'lady parts' and i even had some on the inside of my mouth. I was literally polka-dotted with these big, blotchy red things. It was also EXTREMELY itchy, I wanted to crawl out of my skin and I could barely sleep. It was so depressing that I couldn't even look in the mirror. Honestly, I don't think you can understand how bad this makes you feel until you have it yourself. I could hardly look at myself without crying.
That first night, however, I had to do something (I couldn't just sit around and watch it get worse!) so I went out and bought my first weapon: Head and Shoulders Clinical Strength shampoo (blue bottle, orange liquid). I applied it dry on my body 1-2 times a day and rinsed it off in the shower about 10 minutes after. After a few days of this I just used it as a body wash, although I would let it sit for about 5 minutes before washing it off. This would temporarily make the rash bright red which was kind of depressing, but it would also stop the itching for a while and by the next day the rash was already starting to look better.
Then it was on to the second step. I had read so much about tanning being a miracle cure that I decided, against my anti-tanning bed morals, to give it a shot. Of course my dermatologist advised me not to (which doctor would??) but I refused to live with this rash for the next several months. Over the next week and a half I went every second day- starting at first with 5 minutes in the lowest UV ray bed and gradually going up to 6 minutes on a medium bed. The rash would be extra itchy and red immediately after tanning, but by the second visit I noticed an improvement. I honestly think that this is what helped me the most.
Third attack- I applied Zinc Oxide 40% to my body every night. It can be found as a diaper rash cream. I honestly don't know if this worked, but it helped with the itching and also made my skin look paler, which in turn made the rash look better which helped my stress levels.
NOTE: I also used aveeno intensive moisturizer, with oatmeal. This really helped with the itching- I get that it's a bit counter-intuitive as we want to dry out the rash, but don't worry, that's not what it's moisturizing. It was honestly hard for me to even touch my body when it was looking so disgusting, but it was worth it in the end.
I also took vitamin C and rubbed the soles of my feet with tea tree oil, along with drinking loads of water, fruit/veggies and green tea. Help your body out!
By the end of the first week, the rash was already starting to fade. I had a few setbacks- on day 9, I randomly got a crop of patches all over my neck and even on my face. As bad as that was, they all disapeared within 2-3 days. Even now I find a new one once in a while but it's usually gone by the end of the day.
I'm now exactly 16 days from when I was diagnosed. My rash has cleared up by 90%- all that is left is a few brown spots that just look like bruises. I feel so relieved I can't even tell you! Don't give up hope. There's no reason anyone should be suffering from this when there ARE cures out there. Follow the steps above and I'm hopeful you can clear yourself up just as fast!
And just remember not to let this get you down too much. I know that even just 2 weeks can seem too long for something like this, but just stay positive and keep your smile. No one goes through life without getting something like this. As much as all these steps above helped me, what helped the most was going out with my friends and talking and laughing. Showing them the rash relieved me so much- people are kinder than you think and you don't need to go through this alone. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!
*as a sidenote - my doctor perscribed me a cortisone cream. I suggest not using it. After doing some research, I found that this can actually make the rash last longer. Use Zinc Oxide for the itching!
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