Exanthem Definition

Medical researchers define Exanthem as a widespread rash that generally occurs in children and arises over all or most parts of the body. It rarely arises in adults but is fairly common in infants as well as young children.

Exanthem Types

Exanthem Picture

Picture 1 – Exanthem

Six types of Exanthem have been discovered in total. Of these, four are viral in nature.

Viral Exanthem

Exanthem caused by viral microbes has been differentiated into four types. These are:


Also known as “Rubeola” or “First Disease”, this condition originates due to an infection caused by a type of Paramyxoviridae virus that is also referred to as “Measles Virus”. Patients usually suffer from fever, cough, muscular pain and rashes.


It was identified in 1881 and is also known as “Third Disease”. It results from a type of Rubvirus, popularly called “Rubella Virus”. Individuals suffering from Rubella typically experience discomforts headaches, runny nose, fever and a general feeling of malaise.

Erythema Infectiosum

Also referred to as “Fifth Disease”, it was detected as a distinct disorder in 1896. The condition results from an infection by Parovirus B19. People with this disorder typically suffer from fever, rashes, joint pain and temporary anemia.

Roseola Infantum

It is also known as “Sixth Disease” or “Exanthem Subitum” and is caused by not one but two types of virus, HHV-6 and HHV-7. The symptoms of this condition typically involve runny nose, irritability, sore throat, redness of the eyes and high fever.

Non-viral Exanthem

The two types of Exanthem, caused by non-viral conditions, include

Scarlet Fever

Also known as “Second Disease”, it is caused due to bacterial infection. The bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes is responsible for this disease. The condition affected many people in the 17th century.

Fourth Disease

It was first described in 1900 and is said to result due to infection by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus. It is regarded to be a rare condition these days.

Unilateral Laterothoracic Exanthema

The condition was first described in the US in 1962. It occurs most commonly in children, but can also affect adults. A viral prodrome may or may not precede the disease. It is characterized by blending of Erythematous papules mostly on one side of the body. Generally, it persists for 4-6 weeks though it may also last for as little as 2 weeks. The disease has been inconsistently related to viral infection, particularly Parvovirus B-19.

Polymorphous Exanthem

It is a form of skin eruption arising on the trunk and limbs. It may have various forms, involving a diffuse Scarlatiniform rash, Morbilliform Maculopapular eruption and Urticarial Exanthem. Vesicles and Bullae are not found. Generally, the rash arises within five days after an onset of fever.

Boston Exanthem

It is a cutaneous disorder that arises as an epidemic in Boston. It develops due to Echovirus 16.

Infectious Exanthem

It is a generalized cutaneous eruption and is related with a primary systemic infection. The condition is frequently accompanied by oral mucosal lesions, that is, an enanthem. It is mostly of caused by virus but can also result from parasites, bacteria and Rickettsia.

The main symptoms of this condition are:

  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Malaise
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

For most sufferers of non-specific exanthems, treatment is usually unnecessary as the condition is usually temporary and resolves spontaneously. If required, symptomatic treatment can be carried out with Paracetamol and/or topical or oral antihistamines.

Is Viral Exanthem Contagious?

This condition arises due to viral infection and is, therefore, contagious in nature. The condition can be transmitted from person to person through contact with cough droplets. People attending to sufferers of this condition should wash their hands after care-giving to prevent contracting the disease.

Exanthem Symptoms

The symptoms of Exanthem differ depending on the type of the condition that an individual is suffering from. Read and know about the signs and symptoms of various types of Exanthem.

Viral Exanthem Symptoms

This condition is mainly characterized by the occurrence of rashes over the skin surface. Rashes give rise to redness in localized areas of skin.

Some of the other symptoms of this condition include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Cough
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • General ill-feeling
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Anorexia

Scarlet Fever Symptoms

The main symptoms of this disease are:

  • Red rashes
  • Flushed face
  • Red lines
  • Strawberry tongue

In rare cases, there can be some other difficulties like headache, nausea, vomiting and difficulties in swallowing. Patients may suffer from enlargement of lymph nodes in the neck. Some individuals may experience soreness and redness of throat. There may also be development of yellow or white patches in the throat region in less-common cases. Some people also suffer from fever with body temperatures reaching 101 degree F, often with chills.

Fourth Disease Symptoms

Individuals suffering from this condition typically suffer from symptoms like nausea, vomiting, acute abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Exanthem Treatment

The treatment of Exanthem depends on the form of the condition that an individual is suffering from.

Viral Exanthem Treatment

For patients suffering from a viral form of this condition, treatment involves rest and intake of plenty of fluids. Moisturizers like Eucerin and Lubriderm are used to cure dryness of skin. Oral antihistamines such as Diphenhydramine and Chlorpheniramine are used to alleviate itchiness. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs like Ketoprofen and Naproxen are also used to cure pain and fever.

Scarlet Fever Treatment

Children suffering from this condition are usually prescribed an antibiotic. Generally, a full course of antibiotics is enough to resolve fever and cure other painful symptoms.

Fourth Disease Treatment

The treatment of this disorder aims at controlling the symptoms as well as curing the underlying bacterial cause. Proper medications and successful adherence to medical guidelines help cure this problem.

Exanthem Pictures

Here are some Exanthem photos that you may find useful for reference. Check out these pictures of Exanthem to know about the physical appearance of the condition.

Pictures of Exanthem

Picture 2 – Exanthem Picture

Images of Exanthem

Picture 3 – Exanthem Image

Exanthem Prognosis

The prognosis of this disease depends on

  • The type of the condition
  • The diagnosis of the condition
  • The treatment of the condition

If diagnosed and treated effectively in time, the condition can resolve in a few days. However, patients may require a week or more to gain back strength to carry out normal activities. This is especially true for children than adults.






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