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Erythema - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Erythema Definition

Erythema is a redness of the skin due to congestion of the capillaries, usually due to injury, infection, or inflammation. Erythema nodosum is a type of skin inflammation that is located in a certain portion of the fatty layer of skin. Erythema nodosum results in reddish, painful, tender lumps most commonly located in the front of the legs below the knees. Erythema may result from a variety of causes, the aetiology or a specific type of lesion often being indicated by a modifying term.

Erythema occurs mostly in children but can affect adults as well. Infection is most likely at 4 to 12 years of age, but nearly 60% of the population is seropositive by adulthood. Erythema infectiosum, commonly known as fifth disease.

Erythema Causes

Abnormal skin redness from increased blood flow, may be caused by dilatation and congestion of the capillaries, often a sign of inflammation or infection. Erythema nodosum is often associated with systemic diseases such as tuberculosis and rheumatic fever. Erythema may be caused by infection, massage, electrical treatments, exercise or solar radiation, any of which can cause the capillaries to dilate, resulting in redness. An inflammatory reaction deep in the skin characterized by the presence of nodules ranging in size from 1 to 5 centimeters most commonly located over the shins or other areas.

Erythema nodosum may occur as an isolated condition or in association with other conditions. Conditions that are associated with erythema nodosum include medications, strep throat, Cat scratch disease, and fungal diseases. Erythema nodosum may be self-limited and go away on its own in 3 to 6 weeks.

Erythema Symptoms

In case of erythema, red nodules of erythema nodosum usually appear on the shins. The classic sign of fifth disease is erythema over the cheeks.

The other symptoms of the erythema may be included:

  • fever
  • blisters
  • malaise
  • irritation
  • anus rash
  • joint aches
  • reddened
  • mouth rash
  • skin redness
  • genital rash
  • inflammation
  • genital blisters
  • conjunctival rash
  • swollen red rash
  • swelling of the leg

Erythema Treatments

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) may reduce symptoms. An oral potassium iodide (SSKI) solution may produce prompt resolution of the nodules.

Those with severe anemia may require blood transfusions and those with immune deficiencies may be treated with immune globulin.

Topical therapy is not generally needed, although hot or cold compresses may reduce discomfort.

Specific treatment for erythema nodosum will be determined by your physician based on the cause of the disorder and may include antibiotics and bed rest to relieve pain.

 

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