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Sudden Exanthema: What Is It and How to Treat It?

Have you ever heard of sudden eczema? Learn about this condition that causes rashes in children.

Sudden rash: what is it and how to treat it?

Last actualisation: January 07, 2023

Sudden rash, so-called infantile rose, is infection produced by the virus. At the start of the last century, it belonged to a gaggle of frequent diseases in children, the common feature of which was the looks of rashes on the skin.

These conditions, which included measles, rubella, and varicella, are listed as described. Thus, the sudden rash became generally known as the “sixth disease”.

Deadline exanthema refers back to the presence of a rash on the surface of the body. When the rash covers the mucous membranes, the term enanthem it’s used.

Why does the rash appear suddenly?

It is thought that a sudden rash is of viral originattributable to human herpes virus (HHV) types 6 and seven. There are two variants of HHV-6 (A and B), but 6B is the one that almost all often causes a sudden rash.

These viruses are present in over 95% of adults, so it’s a quite common infection worldwide.

Yet, the transmission mechanism is regarded as via saliva droplets transmitted by respiration, coughing or talking. However, congenital infection can also be possible because HHV has the power to bind to the genome, transferring with the chromosomes at conception, although such transmission is rare.

The presence of the virus in various cells of the body persists for all times.

Who is affected?

More than 95% of people that develop a sudden rash are between 6 months and three years old. Therefore, it is taken into account a typical childhood ailment.

However, since the virus stays dormant within the body, reactivations are possible, although they sometimes go unnoticed. In young infants, the condition is rare resulting from the protection provided by maternal antibodies which have crossed the placenta.

The virus that causes the sudden rash belongs to the Herpesviridae family.

Symptoms of a sudden rash

The sudden rash will likely be spread over the chest and abdomen, with small rashes on the surface of the limbs, face and behind the ears. Changes on the palate and uvula might be observed very rarely.

The initial symptom is a fever, which will likely be high and lasts for several days. After the temperature normalizes, a typical symptom appears: a small, irregular, pinkish rash, mainly on the trunk.

It is significant to notice that because the fever subsided when the rash appeared, the final condition of the kid will likely be good. For this reason, the infection is typically downplayed by parents.

In addition to the rash, some patients even have tonsillitis, pharyngitis or otitis media, the symptoms of which suggest a viral origin. Enlargement of the cervical lymph node chains can also be common, however it just isn’t painful for the kid to look at them.

In some patients infection could also be asymptomatic. Other less common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Reddish spots on the palate and uvula.

After 24 to 48 hours, the rash completely disappears.

It must be noted that sometimes antibiotics could also be rushed for fear of high fever. Since the rash appears several days later, it is straightforward to misinterpret it as a drug hypersensitivity response.

Read more: Antibiotics: among the inherent dangers

Complications of sudden exanthema

It just isn’t yet known which patients are most probably to develop complications, but as much as a 3rd of youngsters are in danger. The most serious are those who affect the central nervous system (CNS), including febrile seizures and encephalitis.

As for the mechanisms able to causing neurological symptoms, much stays to be discovered. In fact, some authors argue that the virus stays within the CNS after the primary infection, carrying with it an increased risk of febrile seizures and neurological symptoms within the patient.

However, there are discrepancies between different studies, so more research is required.

On the opposite hand, although a sudden rash will likely be considered unimportant, individuals with immunodeficiencies and transplant recipients are more liable to more severe infections, in addition to the next risk of complications and reactivation of the viral process. This is why close follow-up of transplant recipients is so vital.

How is a sudden rash diagnosed?

The infection might be diagnosed medically, and it’s it is predicated on each the presence of the rash and the resolution of the fever before the looks of the rash. Supplementary tests should not essential, but they’re they will detect the presence of antibodies.

Similarly, polymerase chain response (PCR) is used to detect viral DNA. But its cost, in comparison with the relative lack of seriousness of the condition, doesn’t justify its regular use.

The doctor will diagnose the disease based on observations. In general, no complementary methods are required.

Differential diagnosis

The important difference from other childhood rashes is that on this state, the fever subsides before the lesions appear. On the opposite hand, the characteristics of the rash help distinguish it from other viral processes.

However, it is important to know a number of related diagnoses:

  • Chickenpox
  • scarlatina
  • Measles
  • Infectious mononucleosis

Find out more here: 5 kinds of common newborn rashes

Treating a sudden rash

Since it’s a viral process that completely goes away by itself, it doesn’t require special treatment. Therefore, the suggestion is to easily manage your child’s symptoms.

This implies that antipyretics must be prescribed to treat fever. Similarly, it’s important to advise rest and fluid intake.

Some authors consider that administration of antiviral drugs (for instance, ganciclovir) could have some utility in reducing viral loads. However, this theory has not been proven and more research is required.

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