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Life-Threatening Skin Rashes (cont.)

Medical Treatment

Patient Comments

Treatment for these disorders involves a hospital stay.

  • Admission to the hospital is the rule, and you may require admission to an intensive care unit for closer monitoring.
  • Blistering that involves large portions of the body is treated as a thermal burn. This can mean admission to a specialized burn intensive care unit. Not all hospitals have a burn unit, so you may need to be transported to an appropriate medical center for care.
  • The fluid losses through the skin and from decreased drinking that happen in these disorders cause dehydration.
    • This dehydration is treated with IV fluids.
    • One or two IV catheters will be placed in a vein, usually in the arms, for fluids and medicines as needed.
  • Blood samples will be analyzed for signs of infection and electrolyte imbalances. IV fluids and electrolytes will be adjusted to normalize any electrolyte imbalance.
  • Pemphigus vulgaris
    • Doctors try to suppress the body's immune system (to stop it from attacking itself) and stop the progression of PV with IV corticosteroids.
    • Blisters are treated like thermal burns and are very susceptible to infection. Antibiotic creams and sterile bandages that are changed frequently are used to prevent infection.
    • When blistered areas become infected, IV antibiotics are used, but they are not used to prevent infection.
    • Oral blisters are treated with mouthwashes and rinses with numbing medicine for pain relief.
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
    • Doctors try to suppress the body's immune system (to stop it from attacking itself) and stop the progression of SJS with IV corticosteroids. To help with the allergic reaction associated with SJS, IV antihistamines may also be given.
    • Raw skin from broken blisters is treated with a drying solution, such as Burow's solution, and sterile bandages are applied.
    • When blistered areas become infected, IV antibiotics are used, but they are not used to prevent infection.
    • Oral blisters are treated with mouthwashes and rinses with numbing medicine for pain relief.
    • An eye specialist monitors eye involvement. He or she may prescribe steroid and antibiotic eyedrops or ointments to be given while you are in the hospital.
    • Discontinue any medications that may be causing the disease.
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis
    • Treatment of TEN must always be in an intensive care unit or specialized burn intensive care unit.
    • Using IV corticosteroids has not proven to help TEN, so they are not routinely used.
    • Raw areas of skin are covered with petrolatum gauze and sterile bandages that are changed frequently to help keep further fluid losses from happening through the skin.
    • When blistered areas become infected, IV antibiotics are used, but they are not used to prevent infection.
    • Oral blisters are treated with mouthwashes and rinses with numbing medicine for pain relief.
    • An eye specialist monitors eye involvement. He or she may prescribe steroid and antibiotic eyedrops or ointments to be given while you are in the hospital.
    • Discontinue any medications that may be causing the disease.
  • Toxic shock syndrome
    • Large amounts of IV fluids may be required to treat the low blood pressure found in TSS.
    • Special medications may also be given continuously through an IV catheter to help increase blood pressure if fluids alone cannot raise blood pressure to adequate levels.
    • IV antibiotics are given immediately if TSS is suspected.
    • The underlying source of infection (that is, the tampon, nasal packing, wound infection, or other source) must be identified and removed.
  • Staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome
    • In very young children, affected areas of skin are treated with antibiotic creams and sterile bandages that are changed frequently.
    • Older children do not usually require topical treatment.
    • IV antibiotics are used to treat the underlying infection.
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Patient Comments & Reviews

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Life-Threatening Skin Rashes - Treatment

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Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis »

Described in 1956 by Alan Lyell, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a life-threatening skin disorder that is commonly drug-induced.

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