Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a rare syndrome that is also called erythema mulitforme. Toxic epidermal necrosis is another form of Stevens-Johnson syndrome and can be life threatening. This is a rare skin disorder due to an allergic reaction that can happen when a person who is allergic to certain medications and it may also be connected to the herpes virus. Stevens-Johnson syndrome can take several weeks to recover from and people suffering from it may require hospitalization. If it is caused by medications the person can never take that kind of medication again once it has been determined which one they are allergic to. If the person is on several medications at the time the Stevens-Johnson syndrome appears they must stop taking all medications at once until it can be determine which one is causing it.

At first you may not even know that you have even Stevens-Johnson syndrome because it may begin much like the flu. Some of the first symptoms the person will experiences are coughing, flu like aches and pains. A few days later the symptoms will progress until you will know you are obviously having an allergic reaction to something. These symptoms can include the person having hives, and a skin rash and swelling of the face or mouth and tongue. If a person has Toxic Epidurmal Necrosis they must seek medical attention immediately and be hospitalized for treatment. When someone has this form of Stevens-Johnson syndrome the layers of the skin can also begin to peel away which can lead to dangerous infection.

Symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
Stevens-Johnson syndrome can also be a reaction to an infection. Normally an attack of this serious skin disorder will require hospitalization according to the Mayo Clinic. Patient may also have a fever and a sore throat as well as burning eyes for several days before the actual skin rash occurs. The skin rash is the major symptom of this syndrome. The skin rash can:

  • start suddenly
  • return once it has cleared
  • begin to spread
  • appear as a nodule, papule or macule
  • include blisters of various sizes
  • have a small red ring around a central lesion similar in look to a bull’s-eye
  • can be found on the face or lips as well as the upper body, legs, arms, hands or feet
  • be symmetrical

The person who has Stevens-Johnson syndrome can also have other symptoms like:

  • Dry eyes
  • bloodshot eyes
  • burning eyes
  • painful eyes
  • vision abnormalities
  • mouth sores

Treatment for Stevens-Johnson Syndrome
Once the patient has been hospitalized for Stevens-Johnson syndrome they will begin to receive supportive care. The doctor and hospital staff will administer treatment to control the illness that is causing this condition. Antibiotics will be given to treat the infection. Other necessary treatments for the symptoms the patient is experiencing will be treated appropriately. Treatment for mild symptoms can include such things as:

  • Giving the patient antihistamines to control itching
  • the application of moist compresses to the skin
  • pain medications
  • topical anesthetics

Fluid replacement is very important to prevent skin loss. The patient may be given fluids and nutrients through a tube passed from the nose through to the stomach. The wet compresses are given to help soothe blisters during the healing process. Some doctors may begin intravenous corticosteroids to shorten recovery time. Immunoglobulin can also be administered intravenously to build up the immune system to stop the progress of Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Severe cases of this syndrome may require skin grafts if large areas of the body are affected. Patients who undergo skin grafts will require several months to recover. People who have had Stevens-Johnson syndrome should wear a medical alert bracelet in the event of an emergency. Stevens-Johnson syndrome may also be the result of the herpes virus and may require antiviral medications to be taken on a daily basis.

Last updated on Aug 19th, 2010 and filed under Skin Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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