Skin diseases

Erythema multiforme

Erythema multiforme is an acute, self-limiting, inflammatory skin eruption. It is referred to allergic skin diseases. Its causes are not always clear. Reddish spots appear on the skin of the hands and the extensor surfaces of the forearms. The central part of the rash becomes cyanotic hue. The disease begins acutely, often in the spring or autumn, usually develops on the background of infectious diseases.


  • Swelling of the skin.
  • Round pink-red spots.
  • General weakness.
  • Body temperature increases.
  • Pain in the joints.


There are two forms of this disease: idiopathic and symptomatic. Causes of idiopathic exudative erythema multiforme are not known. Symptomatic exudative erythema multiforme may occur for several causes:

  • Due to the use of certain medications.
  • Due to rheumatic diseases and infectious.
  • Due cancers of internal organs.
  • In children it can develop after vaccination.


As a rule, it is enough to cover the affected areas of the skin powder containing glucocorticoids. In severe cases, the doctor prescribes glucocorticoids orally, intravenously or intramuscularly.

Usually, inflammatory skin changes disappear spontaneously within 2-3 weeks.

If you experience symptoms of the disease, you should immediately consult a doctor. Exudative erythema multiforme may be accompanied by a very serious illness.

When there is erythema multiforme, doctor will try to determine the cause of inflammatory changes in the skin. To do this, he will hold some research.

Course of the disease

Headache, weakness, fever, sore throat and joint pain may precede the appearance of the rash. Usually there is redness of the skin of hands, palms, forearms and feet. In addition, the rash often occurs in the back of the head and on the genitals. The rash can affect both small and large areas of skin. First, tissue fluid (lymph) starts to gather in the skin, there is a slight swelling and characteristic spots – pink and red on the edges and blue in the center. After some time, the central part of the rash sinks. In the mild form of the disease rash disappears quickly. In severe – blisters appear on the affected skin. After their opening interstitial fluid flows, continuous bleeding painful lesions are formed. The patient’s condition deteriorates; he has pains in the joints, fever. In idiopathic form of erythema violation of mucosal membranes is possible. Large bubbles, covered with yellowish-gray patina, appears on the mucous membrane of the mouth, lips, eyes and connective shell genitals. Typically, the skin lesions are deep. Lips become swollen, red border is covered bloody crusts and painful cracks.


People cannot be protected from the disease. According to some, the disease develops under the influence of sunlight.

Is it dangerous?

Patients usually recover without sequelae. However, course the symptomatic exudative erythema multiforme can be very heavy. The most serious complication – Stevens-Johnson syndrome, flowing with significant impairment of general condition, normal functioning of the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, nasopharynx, eye disease and internal organs. In this case the patient needs urgent treatment.