Erythema multiforme is an acute condition which will usually go away on its own but may require treatment for the symptoms.
The name tells you a bit about what the rash looks like. It means a redness (erythema) that is of many (multi-) shapes (-forme). In fact, the rash of erythema multiforme can be recognised by the presence of spots that look like small targets (bull’s eye shaped ‘target lesions’). These have a dusky red centre, a paler area around this, and then a dark red ring round the edge.
Erythema multiforme is usually mild (erythema multiforme minor) – with only a few spots, causing little trouble and clearing up quickly – but there is also a rare but much more severe type (erythema multiforme major/bullous erythema multiforme) that can be life threatening with involvement of the mucus membranes inside the mouth, in the genital area, and on the conjunctiva of the eyes.
Erythema multiforme occurs most commonly between the ages of 10 and 40. It is rare before the age of 3 or after the age of 50.