One of the most commonly asked questions by many people is whether rosacea is contagious or not. Rosacea is a common skin inflammatory condition affecting nearly 14 million people of the United States alone. It causes redness and a pimple like rash on the face, especially over the forehead, cheeks and nose. It is more common among females than men and is prevalent among the ages of 30 to 50 years. It is a chronic skin condition that persists throughout the person’s life.
The cause of rosacea is not yet found, but genetic and environmental factors seem to play a role. In addition, many experts suggest that rosacea can be a result of an immune response. If one of your family members has rosacea, then you may be at a slightly higher risk of developing rosacea than a person with no family history.
The initial symptoms of rosacea include redness and swelling of the face which is sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation and itching of the face. With time, as the disease progresses, small bumps which look like pimples begin to appear on the face often confusing them as an acne breakout. This is also associated with dilated and visible blood vessels over the face.
Rosacea, although is an inflammatory condition and responds to antibiotics, is not a contagious disease, meaning it will not spread from one person to another. Some treatment modalities that are used to control the disease has led to a misunderstanding that rosacea is contagious. Even though it is not an infectious disease, it does respond to both topical and oral antibiotics depending on the severity of the disease. Although antibiotics have proven to be effective in reducing the redness and pimples within 1 to 2 months, it is thought that this effectiveness is due to the ability of the antibiotic’s anti-inflammatory properties rather than its antibacterial properties.
In addition to the medical therapy, lifestyle modifications are also suggested to improve the condition. Avoiding trigger factors like exposure to sunlight, very cold or hot weather, alcohol and spicy foods will help to prevent the dilatation of the blood vessels on your face and therefore the appearance of significant symptoms.
Rosacea is a disease with periods of flares and remissions. During flares, symptoms tend to be exaggerated whereas during periods of remission, the symptoms fade away. The bad thing about this is that you will never know when the next flare up will hit you. Therefore, it is best that you control the symptoms with medications and lifestyle modifications. Laser therapy and surgical treatments can help to reduce the symptoms drastically. However patients must continue to take their medications to keep the symptoms under control. Surgery will not prevent future flare ups in you.
Rosacea is not a contagious disease and therefore there is no problem with you sitting next to an affected person. It does not have a cure for the treatment but the symptoms can be kept under control with medication, allowing you to live a normal lifestyle. However, the symptoms will vary from person to person and so does the severity of the treatment, therefore let your doctor or dermatologist determine the best treatment plan for you.