Treating Erythema Toxicum
By now you're aware of how common erythema toxicum is and you know the symptoms, but you're probably still wondering if there's anything you can do about it. Unfortunately, the answer is no. There is no treatment available for the rash. That's the bad news. The good news is that it's harmless and will eventually go away on its own. Most of the time, it won't take more than a couple of days to disappear.
No treatment has been developed for erythema toxicum because no one knows exactly what causes it. There are no bacteria or viruses associated with the rash and the fluid that can occasionally be found in the symptomatic raised spots is made up entirely of healthy blood cells. Most people assume that it's pus, but that's not the case. Also, erythema toxicum isn't contagious at all, and it won't cause your baby any discomfort.
For the time being, erythema toxicum is a medical mystery and since it doesn't have any negative effects, it's likely to stay that way for quite awhile. There are, however, a couple of theories out there regarding the rash. Due to its lack of presence in areas of the body without hair, some people think it may have something to do with hair follicles. Others continue to believe that it's some kind of allergic reaction, despite a lack of evidence to support that claim.
Even though no treatment is available for erythema toxicum, a proper diagnosis is necessary. A physician will examine the rash using a test called a Tzanck smear to make sure that it isn't something more serious. If the rash is, in fact, identified as erythema toxicum you'll be able to return home with your newborn and relax.
Look over the links below for a lot more information on erythema toxicum
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Beute, Trisha C. MD. "Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum." eMedicine. June 18, 2009. (Accessed 09/02/2009) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1110731-overview
- Beute, Trisha C. MD. "Erythema Toxicum Neonatorum: Treatment & Medication." eMedicine. June 18, 2009. (Accessed 09/02/2009) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1110731-treatment
- Dowshen, Steven MD. "Erythema Toxicum." KidsHealth. June 2009. (Accessed 09/02/2009)http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/erythema_toxicum.html
- Finlay, H.V.L. & J.P. Bound. "Urticaria Neonatorum (Eruthema Toxicum Neonatorum)." Archives of Disease in Childhood. May 4, 1953. (Accessed 09/02/2009)http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/pagerender.fcgi?artid=1988622&pageindex=1
- Martin, Joyce A., M.P.H., Brady E. Hamilton, Ph.D., Paul D. Sutton, Ph.D., Stephanie J. Ventura, M.A., Fay Menacker, Dr. P.H., Sharon Kirmeyer, Ph.D., & T.J. Mathews, M.S. "Births: Final Data for 2006." Centers for Disease Control. National Vital Statistics Reports. Vol. 57, No. 7. Jan. 7, 2009. (Accessed 09/02/2009) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_07.pdf
- O'Connor, Nina R. MD, Maura R. McLaughlin, MD, & Peter Ham, MD. "Newborn Skin: Part I. Common Rashes." American Family Physician. Jan. 1, 2008. (Accessed 09/02/2009)http://www.aafp.org/afp/20080101/47.html
- Rauch, Daniel M.D., FAAP. "Erythema Toxicum." MedlinePlus. July 26, 2007. (Accessed 09/02/2009) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001458.htm