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Life Threatening Skin Rashes

Life threatening skin rashes symptoms discussed in the following article will help you seek immediate medical attention that will help save a life. Read on, to know more on skin conditions that prove to be fatal, especially in children.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Skin rashes and infections are one of the most common complaints treated by a dermatologists. There are many such skin rashes that do not need medical attention. Just a few home remedies help treat an itchy rash. Most rashes appear due to a bacterial infection, viral infection and in some cases due to an allergy. In most cases, calamine lotion helps give some relief. Antihistamines, corticosteroids and anti-itch creams too help overcome an annoying skin rash. In some rare cases, however, rashes tend to develop life threatening skin rashes.
Life-threatening skin rashes symptoms should be identified as soon as possible, as it will help in saving a life. There are five types of skin rashes that can develop into a life-threatening condition. These rashes tend to appear all over the skin and mucus membranes. They appear in the mouth, nose, eyes, vagina, urethra (opening of the vagina in women and opening tip of the penis in men), anus, etc. These rashes form thin blisters that may expose a moist, painful skin when ruptured. Blisters within the mouth, when rupture cause a lot of pain as well as drinking and eating difficulty. When one scratches these blisters, it will expand and become larger in size.
Types of Skin Rashes that are Life Threatening
The life-threatening skin rashes symptoms are specific for specific rashes. Some of the skin rashes that lead to a life and death situation are as follows:
Pemphigus Vulgarus
This is an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks the proteins within the body as a foreign particle. In this condition, the immune system attacks the skin proteins. This condition generally affects people in the age group of 40 to 60 years, but can even affect children as young as 3 years old. This life-threatening skin rash symptoms include:
  • Painful blisters that are irregular in shape
  • Elevated skin lesions that are more than an inch in size
  • Blisters cause the skin to become red
  • Lesions first occur in the mouth, lips, on the tongue, throat and inner side of the cheeks
  • The blisters are very painful and make eating and drinking very difficult
  • The blisters gradually spread on the face, head, armpits, body trunk, etc.
  • Blisters are fluid filled and when skin next to the blister is pressed, it results in formation of a new blister
  • After 2 to 3 days the clear fluid in the blisters turns cloudy
  • Blisters rupture and cause the skin to crust over
  • These open and very painful blisters are prone to infections
  • The infection from the skin spreads to the blood and, if not treated soon, it results in death
Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome
This condition leads to scalded blisters due to a staphylococcal infections. This is one of the life-threatening skin rashes in children. The staphylococcal bacteria is of a different type than the normal skin infection causing bacteria. This bacteria releases two types of toxins within the bloodstream that leads to a typical skin rash. Initial symptoms are often overlooked as they usually include fever, irritability and some areas on the skin appear tender. The staphylococcal scaled skin rash appears suddenly on the neck, mouth, eyes, armpits, neck and groin areas. Soon, it spreads all over the body. The skin is very warm and tender to touch and appears red in color. This rash has a rough, sandpaper like texture. 24 hours after the rash appears, the skin begins to form large, irregular blisters. After about 3 to 5 days the blisters rupture, and the outer layers of the skin peels off. This peeling causes the skin to appear scalded and with treatment it can heal within 15 days.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
This is an inflammatory disease, that is also known as erythema multiforme major. Stevens-Johnson syndrome(SJS) causes multiple lesions in mucous membranes. It affects people in the age group of 20 to 40 years. The mucus membranes of eyes and mouth are the most affected. Early symptoms of this skin rash include fever, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue and burning sensation on skin. The lesions that develop are called target lesions as they have a bluish center that is surrounded by a red halo. The lesions are 1 inch in size and form in clusters. They can appear anywhere on the body like chest, abdomen, back, feet, hands, etc. Once the lesion develops, it takes about 1 to 2 days for the target lesion to appear. Blisters that are formed tend to be very painful.
Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis
A drug reaction leads to toxic epidermal necrolysis. This condition is also called Lyell's syndrome and it affects women more than men. This skin rash is considered to be a severe form of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This serious skin condition causes fever, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, cough, nasal congestion as well as runny nose. It will also cause skin tenderness a week before the rash erupts. Mouth lesions and conjunctivitis tend to develop about 2 days before the rash. The rash first appears on the face, genitals and then appears around the body. The skin is very painful to touch, and red in color. There are blisters formed on the skin. The skin around the body begins to peel off. If the lesions appear in the eyes, it causes pus and blindness. The rash may also appear around the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. If left untreated, it results in death.
Toxic Shock Syndrome
A bacterial infection involving Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes is called toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Toxins released by the bacteria lead to this serious health complication. The symptoms of TSS appear about 2 days before the rash eruption in skin. The symptoms include sore throat, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever (around 102°F). The mucous membranes of the eyes become red and irritated and the tongue appears a beefy red in color. Joint and eyelid swelling occurs and the red rash diffuses all over the body. Other organs such as kidney, liver, respiratory organs, heart, are also affected. The rash may disappear after 3 to 5 days and requires active medical intervention.
These were some of the life threatening skin rashes that may affect people. It is very rare to observe these rashes that may prove to be fatal. If one observes any kind of abnormal rash on their body, they should consult a doctor immediately.