Erythema Toxicum

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Parents

Erythema toxicum is a common harmless rash that appears in at least half of all infants who are carried to term.

The condition is also sometimes called erythema toxicum neonatorum (ETN) or toxic erythema of the newborn. The rash usually appears within 1 to 2 days after birth, and often goes away on its own within about a week.

Body Basics: Skin and Hair

No one knows the cause of ETN — no bacteria or viruses are found in the rash area. Even the pus-like fluid that is sometimes found in the rash contains only harmless blood cells. It is not contagious, does not require any medical treatment, and goes away on its own.

The rash that occurs with erythema toxicum consists of tiny bumps that are firm, yellowish or white, and surrounded by a ring of redness. Sometimes these bumps are filled with a fluid that looks like (but isn't) pus. Sometimes there are no bumps at all — only a splotchy redness.

The rash usually appears on the baby's face, chest, arms, and legs. It may be concentrated on only one area of the body or it may cover much of the child's skin, although it usually does not affect the palms or soles of the feet.

ETN is not associated with any other health problems, and a child with the rash feels completely well. Again, because it is harmless, ETN doesn't require medical treatment. Follow your doctor's guidelines for your baby's normal skin care.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: June 2009



Related Resources

OrganizationAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.
OrganizationAmerican Academy of Dermatology This website provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.


Related Articles

The First Day of Life Your baby's first day of life is one of the most eventful days in your own life. Here's what to expect on that special day.
Erythema Multiforme By the looks of the "bulls-eye" marks this rash leaves on the skin, you might think it's cause for concern. But erythema multiforme clears up on its own within a few weeks.
Skin, Hair, and Nails Our skin protects the network of tissues, muscles, bones, nerves, blood vessels, and everything else inside our bodies. Hair and nails are actually modified types of skin.




Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2012 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.



 

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