Severe Erythema multiforme

Severe Erythema Multiforme

Severe Erythema Multiforme (SEM) is a rare and serious skin condition that is caused by an overactive immune system. It is characterized by the sudden appearance of red circular lesions, which are itchy or have burning sensations, on the skin. The lesions can vary in size, shape, and color. SEM can last anywhere from a few days to months.

SEM is thought to be an autoimmune disorder, which means that the immune system mistakes the body's own cells for foreign invaders and attacks them. Although the exact cause of SEM is still unknown, it is often triggered by infection, chemotherapy drugs, or allergic reactions to medications. In some cases, the cause may never be identified.

Symptoms of Severe Erythema Multiforme

Common symptoms of SEM include:

  • Red patches or blotches on the hands, feet, or other parts of the body
  • Itching or burning sensation of the skin
  • Small, raised bumps or blisters on the skin
  • Dry, scaly patches on the skin
  • Sores, swelling, or peeling of the skin

In some cases, SEM can also cause tenderness of the skin and swelling of the lymph nodes, as well as fever, fatigue, and body aches. If left untreated, SEM can lead to serious complications, such as scarring, blindness, and severe infection.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Severe Erythema Multiforme

SEM can be diagnosed by a dermatologist or primary care physician. Your doctor may perform a physical examination and order laboratory tests to identify the underlying cause. The doctor may also take a small sample of skin (biopsy) to rule out other conditions.

Treatment of SEM is focused on relieving symptoms and preventing serious complications. Depending on the underlying cause, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, such as corticosteroids, to reduce skin inflammation and itching. Corticosteroids may also be administered by injection or cream directly into the affected area. Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, can also be used to reduce itching. In severe cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat bacterial infections.

Preventing Severe Erythema Multiforme

In some cases, SEM can be prevented by avoiding potential triggers, such as certain medications, infection, and chemotherapy drugs. It is important to speak with your doctor before starting any new medication. If you have recently been exposed to a potential trigger, speak with your doctor promptly.