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Erythema Multiforme

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Abnormal
  • This is a rash that appears suddenly. It usually is symmetrical (i.e., if it is on one arm, it is also on the other).  A very severe form is called Stevens-Johnson syndrome and can be life-threatening.  Stevens-Johnson syndrome usually involves prominent blistering of the mouth and eyes.

  • Appearance (multiple types):
    1. Red, raised, large lesions
    2. Red, raised, small lesions
    3. Hive-like
    4. Deep red appearance
    5. Blisterlike
    6. Targetlike (red outside, clear inside)
  • Location:
    1. Arms
    2. Legs
    3. Palms
    4. Soles
    5. Mouth/Lips


  • Skin biopsy

  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome -- treat in a burn unit
  • Corticosteroid treatment is often tried, but there is no clear evidence of effectiveness.
  • For mouth lesions -- 1% diphenhydramine elixir mixed with Kaopectate or 1% dyclonine

  • Seek immediate emergency treatment. This condition, especially the Stevens-Johnson syndrome, can be life threatening.




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