Maculopapular Rash | Picturtes, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

What are Macules and papules?

Macules are a small, flat, non-elevated and discolored area on the skin. Usually, macular rashes do not require any treatment initially, but in case it continues for more than two weeks, a doctor needs to be consulted. On the other hand, papules are small swollen bumps on the skin. Papules are also known as HIV rash.

What is Maculopapular Rash?

A maculopapular rash is a skin condition in the form of macules or papules or both. Termed as maculopapular with the fusion of the two words, they are tiny red spots that are found in different areas of the skin. These raised patches appear due to several medical reactions and infections like Measles, Scabies and Syphilis which normally occurs when the immune system gets weakened.

Characteristics of a Maculopapular Rash

The rashes often lead to the growth of tiny inflammations on the skin in the form of lumps commonly found on the hands and feet. They may be both flat and elevated lesions appearing on the skin that tends to merge. If these rashes develop larger than 1 cm in size, they are then considered as patches. But if they are merged, then it is a plaque.

Incidence of Maculopapular Rash

They are found in acute, less advanced and chronic stages.

  1. Acute cases last less than a month
  2. Subacute conditions may last for one to two months.
  3. Chronic cases these rashes may stay for more than eight weeks.

Maculopapular rashes are common in all age groups and may develop at any part of the body, be it the trunk, face or any other area. Adults mostly suffer due to the side effects of certain drugs and allergic reactions. On the contrary, children suffering from viral infections are prone to get these rashes on their palms and soles of feet. In earlier stages, they may be red but gradually develop discoloration.

Causes of Maculopapular Rash

A maculopapular rash may occur due to several disorders:

  • Reaction to drugs: An intake of several medicines such as antibiotics, anticonvulsants, Cefobid. Cefoperazone sodium, etc. for a prolonged time may cause allergic reactions. A low fever and muscle pain may accompany these rashes but would fade away in a week or two.
  • Epstein Barr Virus: A virus infection leading to painful eruptions on the skin along with fever is common among cancer patients mainly in China and Africa.
  • Syphilis: People infected with Syphilis which is a sexually transmitted disease may develop these rashes on their genital organs which can be quite itchy and painful.
  • Scabies: Infections caused by itch mites is known as Scabies and may cause serious itching anywhere on the body.
  • Rubella: German measles termed as Rubella may also be a reason.
  • Chikungunya: Maculopapular rashes accompanied with high fever and joint pain can be caused due to Chikungunya.
  • Dengue: Patients suffering from dengue due to mosquitoes can be infected by fever, rashes, joint pain and even a drop in the platelet count.
  • HIV: AIDS primarily caused by the HIV can also contribute towards these rashes.

Other possible reasons

  • Dropping levels of Cholesterol
  • Autoimmune responses to certain intakes or the body’s systematic inflammation
  • Infections such as EBV infection, measles, scarlet fever, herpes, Ebola, hepatitis B or C, etc.
  • Insect Bites
  • Unusually high exposure to sunlight

Symptoms of Maculopapular Rashes

In the initial stages, rashes are red and bright in color accompanied with small structures that gradually get discolored. They are often accompanied with:

  • High fever, fatigue, throat pain in case they are due to measles
  • Tendency of vomiting
  • Headaches may accompany the rashes
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Skin becomes rough and dry
  • Pain in the muscles
  • In case of meningococcemia being the reason, joint swelling and pain are symptoms

Diagnosis of Maculopapular Rash

Diagnosing the rash may take some time and can be quite difficult as there are several potential causes. The following are the steps taken to the doctor for a diagnosis:

  • Assessing the patient’s medical history about the past ailments and the causes
  • Careful inspection of the rashes and the affected area through microscopy
  • Occurrence of itchiness, pain and irritation on the affected skin should also be noted
  • Cerebrospinal test and even a syphilis test for appropriate detection
  • Blood count test, a blood culture test to verify if any virus or bacteria has invaded the body
  • ENT examination and tests of the lungs, genital organs, muscular joints, and nerves may also be conducted
  • Check for associated symptoms like Measles
  • Rashes accompanied with a headache could be due to Gonococcemia
  • Urine test may also be suggested by the doctor to check the presence of virus or bacterial infection
  • Skin biopsy might also be needed

Treatment for Maculopapular Rashes

The actual treatment lies in the detection of the underlying disease, finding out the notable symptoms and reducing the irritation and skin rash. Experts will find out the original disorder due to which these eruptions occur and try to curb down the main disease by reducing the symptoms too. The following are some treatments depending on the symptoms:

  • Chloroquine is usually recommended to control inflammation and itchiness if the causative agent is the Chikungunya virus
  • In case of dengue, Intravenous fluids are given, and in serious conditions of Dengue infection where platelets fall remarkably, blood transfusion is needed
  • Painkillers are prescribed in case of EP virus infection
  • Intake of plenty of fluids and hydration of the body is required
  • In chronic cases, ultraviolet radiation might be helpful
  • If several drugs or medicines are a cause, then the only way is discontinuation of its usage
  • Adequate rest along with antibiotics, antiviral, oral hydration and IV infusions are advised to prevent it from infection
  • Use of topical corticosteroids and oral antihistamines may redeem the condition

Other Treatments for Maculopapular rashes

  • Certain topical ointments may help in eliminating the rash and provide immediate relief
  • Loose clothes should be used to reduce the swelling and pain
  • Have baths using baking soda

Complications related to Maculopapular rashes

One major complication linked to this is the Zika virus. It can affect the baby even if the mother has had mild symptoms of the disease. It can cause an underdeveloped head in the baby of the mother affected with the Maculopapular rash caused by Zika virus during the initial months of pregnancy. Hence, one should check up with the doctor during pregnancy to detect if she has got any exposure to the Zika virus which is a sexually transmitted disease or born by mosquitoes.

Maculopapular rashes Pictures

Maculopapular Rash picture

Maculopapular Rash picture

Maculopapular Rash photo on boy's face

Maculopapular Rash photo on boy’s face

Maculopapular Rash photo on hand

Maculopapular Rash photo on hand

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