Toxic erythema: symptoms and treatment

Toxic erythema is a disease, as a result of the progression of which a polymorphous rash appears on the skin of a person. The disease most often affects newborn babies, but its appearance in adult patients is not ruled out. Toxic erythema of newborns develops in 50% of children in the first few days of their life. This state reflects the child’s adaptation process to the environment, as well as to external factors.


Toxic erythema is of two kinds:

  • congenital. This form of pathology begins to develop in the prenatal period
  • acquired. Developed under the influence of certain external factors

Depending on the cause of the occurrence:

  1. endogenous. In this case, the disease develops due to various changes in the body of the newborn;
  2. exogenous. Develops due to the influence of the environment.


Clinicians distinguish two forms of the disease:

  • physiological erythema. It is also called the physiological catarrh of the skin. Pathology develops as a result of erasing the original lubricant from the skin of the baby;
  • toxic erythema. This condition is a unique reaction of the body to the effect of an allergic agent.


  1. Chemical. At this stage, the development of active substances, which are the «activators» of an allergic reaction,
  2. physiological. It is characteristic for her to develop immunological changes in the child’s body. Usually this is due to a disruption in the functioning of the intestine, due to its defeat by pathogenic microorganisms, and also because of the child’s hypothermia.


The reasons for the development of this disease scientists have been studied in detail. There are many factors that can trigger the progression of toxic erythema, but it is worth highlighting the main ones:

  • fetal hypoxia
  • natural abrasion from the baby’s skin of the original lubricant
  • Adaptation processes occur in the child’s body
  • allergies to various components of mother’s milk (a common cause of the progression of toxic erythema)
  • Adverse effects on the baby external and internal factors
  • strong body overheating;
  • various complications during labor;
  • skin irritation
  • skin pathologies of various etiologies.


Symptoms of the disease depend on the type that developed in the child. In some cases, they are more pronounced, but sometimes the pathology is «erased.»

Physiological erythema

  1. skin peeling
  2. redness of the skin. As a rule, it appears due to the expansion of blood vessels;
  3. the location of redness spots — brushes and feet.

Toxic erythema

  • the children on the skin have spots of red shade, and other elements — bubbles or pimples — may also appear
  • localization of the rash — near the joints, on the head, on the face, buttocks
  • rash elements have a dense structure
  • a local and general allergic reaction appears;
  • all the elements of the rash completely disappear after a few days. On average this happens in three days. In some clinical situations, a repeated manifestation of the rash on the skin is possible. It lasts a little longer — a maximum of 4 days;
  • the temperature rises;
  • children tend to be restless, crying and capricious
  • there is an increase in regional lymph nodes;
  • indigestion occurs rarely;
  • splenomegaly
  • pyoderma.

In the case of development of the unexpressed form of pathology, the following signs are observed in children:

  1. the elements of the rash are localized on the limbs as well as on the back and buttocks
  2. the rash acquires an erythema-papular character.

Separately it is necessary to allocate the generalized form of a toxic erythema. The fact is that it is this form of pathology that is particularly difficult for children. Her treatment should be performed only in a hospital setting, as there is a possibility that the child’s condition may worsen. It is worth noting that this form affects mainly newborn boys.

The pathological process begins with raising the body temperature to high figures. The child himself becomes listless, but at the same time shows great anxiety, capricious, refuses to eat. Multiple elements of the rash appear on the skin. The rash is represented by vesicles and pustules, which tend to merge. Manifestations of the disease disappear after a few days.


If the child has symptoms that may indicate a progression of toxic erythema, then it should immediately register for an appointment with a dermatologist, pediatrician and allergist. A standard diagnostic plan includes conducting:

  • A clinical blood test
  • study of the composition of mother’s breast milk
  • allergic tests
  • study under the microscope of the horny layer of the baby’s epithelium.


As a rule, specific therapy for the treatment of toxic erythema in children is not necessary. In most clinical situations, after a few days, from the onset of the development of pathology, self-healing occurs.

Treatment of all forms of the disease includes the use of such drugs and procedures:

  1. Lactobacterin;
  2. The child should be completely undressed for a while. This therapy is called the adoption of air baths
  3. physiotherapy;
  4. Particular care should be taken to look after the skin rash elements that are located in the umbilical area. They are greased with a green or a solution of potassium;
  5. It is necessary to treat not only the child, but also his mother. And the first thing to do is to completely exclude from the diet products containing allergens
  6. prescribe antihistamines. This method of treatment is used if the allergic reaction persists for a long time;

  7. Vitaminotherapy.