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Erythema Multiforme

What is erythema multiforme?

Erythema multiforme is a skin disorder characterized by symmetrical, red, raised skin areas all over the body. These patches often look like “targets” (dark circles with purple-grey centers). The skin condition may be chronic and usually lasts for two to four weeks each time.

Most often, this disorder is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Other causes may include the following:

  • an interaction with a certain medication
  • other infectious diseases
  • certain vaccines
What are the symptoms of erythema multiforme?

The following are the most common symptoms of erythema multiforme. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently symptoms may include:

  • sudden, red patches and blisters, usually on the palms of hands, soles of feet, and face
  • flat, round red “targets” (dark circles with purple-grey centers)
  • itching
  • cold sores
  • fatigue
  • joint pains
  • fever

The symptoms of erythema multiforme may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Treatment for erythema multiforme:

Specific treatment for erythema multiforme will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

The condition usually clears up on its own. However, if a person develops a more severe form of erythema multiforme, the condition can become fatal.