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Erythema multiforme (say "air-uh-THEE-muh mul-tuh-FOR-mee") is a rash that often causes red spots. These spots can look like targets, with a circle around the edge and a darker area in the centre.
In most cases, doctors know the rash when they see it. But sometimes blood tests or testing a tissue sample (biopsy) can confirm what type of rash you have. Or these tests can help rule out other problems.
This skin condition is usually found on the hands, feet, arms, or legs. But it can affect any part of the body. This includes the mouth, the eyes, and the genitals. Sometimes, the rash itches or burns. Some people have a fever or feel a little sick.
Doctors don't always know what causes erythema multiforme. But the rash may be related to an infection, a medicine, or another health problem.
In most cases, the rash goes away on its own in a few weeks. In some people, the rash returns. Treatment can include medicines for itching and mouth pain.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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