Erythema . It is a dermatological medical term that is characterized by redness and inflammation of the skin, due to excess blood supply due to vasodilation. Erythema is a symptom of various infectious and skin diseases. Erythema is usually the most visible sign of inflammation and often covers a small area, a kind of small areola around the “sensation trigger” site, for example an acne papule or pustule.


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  • 1 Types of erythema
  • 2 Etiology
  • 3 Symptoms
    • 1 Other symptoms
  • 4 Signs and tests
  • 5 Treatment
    • 1 Of mild symptoms
    • 2 From severe symptoms
  • 6 Expectations or prognosis
  • 7 Complications
  • 8 Sources

Types of erythema

  • Erythema multiforme. The one with symmetrical areas of redness and swelling or blisters on the skin and mucosa
  • Erythema nodosum. The one that manifests itself with red and painful nodules that appear mainly on the legs , but also on the arms and other areas of the body.


It is usually difficult to identify a specific cause for one or another erythema. In adults, the most common cause is radiation medications and treatments (radiation therapy ). There are a variety of medications that can cause it, including penicillins, sulfa drugs, and barbiturates . People who develop a reaction against these tend to suffer from serious and numerous allergies.

In children, infections, especially herpes simplex virus , with a frequent cause of erythema multiforme. It is not yet known why these drugs and infectious agents result in an erythema multiforme rash, but experts believe the cause is hypersensitivity or an allergic reaction.

Erythema nodosum in children is normally activated by an infection in the urinary system, mainly caused by streptococcal bacteria. In adults, the most common causes are streptococcal infections and sarcoidosis , a disease that affects the lungs .


  • Fever
  • General ill feeling
  • Skin itch
  • Joint pains
  • Multiple skin lesions
  • It can appear as a nodule, papule, or macula and can look like hives; central lesion surrounded by concentric rings of paleness and redness, also called “target”, “iris” or “white”; they can have vesiclesand blisters of different sizes (bulls); located on the upper body, legs , arms , palms , hands or feet ; they can compromise the face or lips ; generally equal on both sides (symmetrical).

Other symptoms

  • Eyesinjected into blood .
  • Ocular dryness.
  • Burning, itching, and eye discharge.
  • Eye pain
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Vision problems.

Signs and tests

Diagnosis is primarily based on the appearance of the skin lesion, especially if there is a history of risk factors or associated diseases. Exams may include:

  • Nikolsky sign
  • Skin lesion biopsyand microscopic examination of tissue


  • Control the disease that is causing the condition.
  • Prevent infection.
  • Treat symptoms.

Of mild symptoms

  • Medicines like antihistamines to control itching.
  • Moist compresses applied to skin lesions.
  • Oral antivirals if it is caused by herpes simplex.
  • Over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, to decrease fever and discomfort.

Of severe symptoms

  • Antibiotics to control secondary skin infections.
  • Corticosteroids to control inflammation.
  • Hospitalization and treatment in an intensive care unit or burn unit for severe cases, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.
  • Intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG) to stop the pathological process.
  • Skin grafts can be used in cases where large areas of the body are affected.

Expectations or prognosis

Mild forms of erythema multiforme generally improve in 2 to 6 weeks, but may return, while more severe forms can be difficult to treat. Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis have high mortality rates.


  • Systemic infection, sepsis
  • Loss of body fluids, shock
  • Occasionally injuries to internal organs that produce:
  • Inflammation of the heart (myocarditis)
  • Inflammation of the lung (pneumonitis)
  • Inflammation of the kidney (nephritis)
  • Inflammation of the liver (hepatitis)
  • Damage and permanent scarring of the skin
  • Skin infection (cellulite)


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