Erythema Multiforme

Visible changes in the color or texture of a person’s skin is a growth, rash or blemish. What type of skin ailment an individual has can be indicated by the location, appearance, pattern and color. If you notice any changes in your skin it is always important to seek a doctors opinion.

An acute skin disorder is erythema multiforme. The skin disorder can take multiple forms as reflected in the name. The rash can often look like welts since they are made up of patches. They can sometimes look purple and form a fluid filled blister. There are two types of erythema multiforme: minor and major. EM minor is the term of the minor form and Stevens-Johnson syndrome is the term for the major form. The less severe of the two is erythema multiforme. This disorder is found in more than eighty percent of the population. Over a few days the rash will appear and it can last between one to four weeks before beginning to fade and occasionally a brown scar can be left.

Who Can Get Them?

Erythema multiforme can be developed in anyone. It is slightly more common in men than women. Mostly individuals under the age of twenty are affected by this condition.

What Can Cause Them?

The herpes simplex virus can cause erythema multiforme. An interaction with certain medications, other infectious diseases and sometimes certain vaccines can also cause the skin disorder. Basically it is the result of an allergic reaction to something and this reaction should be pinpointed.

How Does It Happen?

A reaction to an infection or medication can cause erythema multiforme. Minor and major are the two forms. It appears as a raised red rash. The patches usually look like targets, a dark circle with a purple-gray center. Individuals develop larger blood blisters along with the red rash in the more severely affected who have the major form of this skin disorder. It often has pain that causes problems for the individuals internal organs. Individuals will also have a high body temperature and admittance to the hospital may be required for treatment.

Where Do They Appear?

It is often found on the forearms, hands, knees and feet. It can also be found in moist areas such as the mouth and eyes.

What Are The Symptoms?

Symptoms of this condition include red patches and blisters that look like flat dark ciricles with a purple-gray center. At times the rash can be itchy. Cold sores, fatigue, joint pains and a fever can also be experience by individuals with this skin disorder. The same symptoms usually aren’t experienced by every individual.

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

The rashes appearance can make diagnosis easy for a doctor or dermatologist. A doctor may want to do a skin biopsy of the affected area in some cases. This entails taking a small piece of skin from the area and examining it under a microscope. To confirm the presence of the herpes simplex virus a blood test may also be done.

What Treatments Are Available?

A person’s age, medical history and the stage of the disorder will determine which treatment an individual uses. The rash can recur if the infection or reaction happens again after the condition is cleared up.

An individual with EM minor may not need treatment since the condition can clear up on its own. Using a steroid cream may be used as a part of treatment to help dry up the rash and blisters.

Doctors may also prescribe antibiotics to help fight any secondary infection that may develop. If a virus is the cause of the disorder an antiviral medication may also be recommended. To soothe the area, wet compresses can also be used. An antiseptic can be used to relieve the lesions if they develop in the mouth or on the lips. Usually it is okay to use common household mouthwash.

Many of the symptoms are uncomfortable even though most skin rashes are harmless. You should consult your doctor if you develop erythema multiforme or any other type of skin ailment to make sure you get the proper attention.

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