Generalized exfoliative dermatitis is a severe inflammation of the entire skin surface due to a reaction to certain drugs, a pre-exisitng skin condition and sometimes cancer. In approximately 25 percent of people, there is no identifiable cause. It is characterized by redness and scaling of the skin that begins in patches and spreads. The skin begins to slough off leading to problems with temperature regulation, protein and fluid loss, as well as an increased metabolic rate.
The following are the most common signs and symptoms of generalized exfoliative dermatitis. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently:
The symptoms of generalized exfoliative dermatitis may resemble other skin conditions. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
Diagnosis includes careful elimination of known causes, such as certain drugs (for example, penicillin and barbiturates). In addition, your doctor may check for other skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, as well as for certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma, during a physical examination and medical history.
Specific treatment for generalized exfoliative dermatitis will be determined by your doctor based on:
Severe cases of generalized exfoliative dermatitis may require hospitalization while the person is treated with antibiotics, intravenous (IV) fluids, and nutritional supplements. Treatment will vary depending upon the cause:
Other treatments may include:
This condition can be life-threatening and many times requires hospitalization. The outlook (prognosis) depends on the cause. In the case of drug reactions, the condition usually lasts two to six weeks after the drug is stopped
Click here to view the
Online Resources of Dermatology