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.

Erythema toxicum is a rash that 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: Jennifer A. Tioseco, MD
Date reviewed: August 2012



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 Provides up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.


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

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