If the patient is all red, he or she needs an inpatient bed - Andrew Grock MD


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Erythroderma: Not Your Everyday Sunburn

Erythroderma is defined as erythema and scaling of greater than 90% of the skin’s total body surface area. Take note: this isn’t like your run-of-the-mill, snotty-nosed kid with a bad viral rash. The erythema here is near confluent. Erythroderma is also known as exfoliative dermatitis because scaling and exfoliation are often involved. We’re talking cytokines—oh yeah, cytokines—causing inflammation and vasodilation of your skin

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 Erythroderma: Not Your Everyday Sunburn

As you can imagine, anyone coming in with erythroderma turns a lot of heads. But even if the patient looks well, you have to remember what’s going on with the skin. These patients can suddenly take a turn for the worse.

Primary Care Dermatology Society

Erythroderma is a term used to describe erythema affecting more than 90% of the body surface. The term exfoliative dermatitis is also used, and describes the exfoliation (skin peeling) found in erythroderma. The extent of the skin changes can obscure the primary lesion making it difficult to diagnose the underlying cause.

Dermatology Advisor

In a majority of cases there has been preexisting dermatosis, and the diagnosis may be quite clear from the history. Patients with dermatologic disorders recalcitrant to therapy may develop erythroderma during a flare-up.


Abrupt onset if related to drug, contact allergen, or malignancy; gradual onset if related to underlying cutaneous disorder. Generally starts on face and trunk with progression to other skin surfaces.

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