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What is Erythema Multiforme?

Skin growths, rashes, or blemishes are visible changes in the color, or texture of an individual’s skin. The location, appearance, pattern and the color can all indicated what type of skin aliment a person has. It is always important to seek a doctor’s opinion if you notice any changes in your skin.


Erythema Multiforme is an acute skin disorder. The name reflects the multiple forms that the skin disorder can come in. The rash that appears is made up of patches that can look like welts. Sometimes they can appear purple and form a fluid filled blister. Erythema Multiforme is divided into two types: minor and major. The minor form is referred to as EM minor and the major form is Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Erythema Multiforme minor is the less severe of the two. More than eighty percent of the population suffers with the form of the disorder. The rash appears over a few days, it can last from one to four weeks, and then it will begin to fade, and sometimes it can leave a brown scar.

Who can get them?

Anyone can develop Erythema Multiforme. Males are slightly more affected than females. Most of the individuals who develop this skin aliment are under the age of 20.

What can cause them?

Erythema Multiforme can be caused by the herpes simplex virus. Other causes of this skin disorder include an interaction with certain medications, other infectious diseases and sometimes certain vaccines. It comes down to an allergic reaction to something, and the key is pinpointing what that is.

How does it happen?

Erythema Multiforme is a reaction to an infection or medication. It has two forms, minor and major. The disorder appears as a red rash that is raised. The patches often look like targets, dark circles with purple-gray centers. In the major form of this skin disorder, individuals develop larger blood blisters along with the red rash, and are more severely affected. It is often occupied by pain that can cause havoc on an individual’s internal organs. The individual will also have a high body temperature, and may have to be admitted to a hospital for treatment.

Where do they appear?

It often appears on the forearms, hands, knees, and feet. It can also appear in the mouth, eyes, and other moist areas.

What are the symptoms?

Erythema Multiforme symptoms include red patches, and blisters, that are flat dark circles with a purple-gray center. The rash can be itchy at times. An individual can also experience cold sores, fatigue, joint pains and a fever, as a result of the skin disorder. Most individual don’t experience the same symptoms and they can vary from individual to individual.

How can it be diagnosed?

A doctor or dermatologists can easily diagnosis Erythema Multiforme by the rashes appearance. In some cases the doctor may want to do a skin biopsy of the affected area. This involves taking a small piece of the skin from the area, and examining it under a microscope. Blood tests may also be conducted to confirm the presence of the herpes simplex virus.

What treatments are available?

An individual’s treatment of Erythema Multiforme depends on the person’s age, medical history, and the stage in which the disorder is in. Once cleared up, the rash can recur if the infection or reaction happens again.

If an individual is diagnosed with EM minor it can clear up on its own without any treatment. Treatments may include using a steroid cream on the rash and blisters, helping to dry it up.

A doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to battle any secondary infection that may develop. Antiviral medications may also be recommended if a virus is the cause of the disorder. Wet compresses can also be used to soothe the area. Finally, if the lesions develop in the mouth or on the lips you use an antiseptic to relieve that. Common household mouthwash will using will fine.

While most skin rashes can be harmless, many of the symptoms can be uncomfortable to deal with. If an individual develops Erythema Multiforme or any other type of skin aliment you should consult with your doctor to make sure that it gets the proper attention.

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