By Susha Cheriyedath, MSc
Erythema multiforme is a hypersensitivity disorder that mostly affects children and young adults, though it can affect people of any age. Erythema multiforme is part of a group of 3 related skin disorders and it is the mildest of the three. The other two more severe disorders are Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis. Erythema multiforme is a very rare condition affecting males more than females.
Symptoms of Erythema Multiforme
People affected by erythema multiforme present with symmetric red, patchy lesions mainly on their arms and legs. The lesions are target shaped, concentric circles on the skin that sometimes have scabs or blisters in the center. The rash begins …show more content…
The rash turns brown as it goes away. Although mostly the rash is the only symptom, some kids may feel tired, develop mouth sores and mild fever, and can experience mild joint and muscle aches. The rash caused by erythema multiforme cannot spread from one person to another as it is not contagious.
Causes of Erythema Multiforme
The exact cause of erythema multiforme is still unknown, but the condition is associated with herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection in many cases. It is also said to be a reaction to an illness or infection which causes damage to the skin cells. In several other cases, medications such as seizure drugs (phenytoin), anesthesia drugs (barbiturates), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen), antibacterial drugs (sulfonamides), pencillin, and other antibiotics seem to trigger erythema multiforme.
In some studies, Mycoplasma pneumoniae and many viral or fungal agents also appear to play a role in causing erythema multiforme. In kids, sometimes, erythema multiforme is seen as a reaction to certain vaccinations such as the hepatitis B and tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccines.
Treatment of Erythema …show more content…
In most cases, treating the root cause such as a bacterial or viral infection with an antibiotic is necessary though. If the cause of the symptoms is a medicine, doctors usually replace the medication with another appropriate one. Using a cold compress on the rash can be helpful. Sore or itchy rash can be treated using antihistamines, acetaminophen, or topical creams. In severe cases of erythema multiforme, intra-venous antibiotics or steroids may be administered at the hospital to ease symptoms. In people suffering from erythema multiforme with coexisting HSV infection, treatment with oral acyclovir at an early stage may reduce the number as well as duration of