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Patient Information Leaflets (PILs)

These Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) are specially written by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD).

The BAD has been awarded The Information Standard certification for the process it employs to develop information products aimed at the general public, which include PILs, Sun Awareness Campaign materials, and other information products.

The BAD shall hold responsibility for the accuracy of the information published, and neither the scheme operator nor the scheme owner shall have any responsibility for costs, losses, or direct or indirect damages or costs arising from inaccuracy of information or omissions in information published on the website on behalf of the BAD.

Please note:

  1. There are thousands of different skin complaints, therefore, the focus of the British Association of Dermatologists' PILs production is on the most common, rarest or debilitating skin conditions.
  2. The offer to provide details of source materials used to inform the British Association of Dermatologists' PILs is for instances where the advice provided in the PILs does not reflect local practice and therefore evidence supporting said advice needs to be produced. It is not an offer to conduct literature searches or supply bibilographic materials for your own research.

For the latest BAD advice on Covid-19 for patients, please check the News and Media section of the website. Find this here. Our information for healthcare professionals is here.

Erythema multiforme

Erythema multiforme (EM) is a hypersensitivity reaction which tends to develop suddenly. Usually it will disappear on its own, but sometimes treatment may be required. It is predominantly seen in young adults. It is rarely seen in children but can occur in any age group. The condition is slightly more common in men. 

Erythema multiforme is characterised by the sudden development of few to hundreds of red spots. The spots usually begin on feet and hands, and spread upwards towards the trunk. The face is often involved. Over time these spots change to plaques (raised patches) and then typical target-shaped lesions, which have a dusky red centre, a paler area around this, and then a dark red ring round the edge. Sometimes the centre of the target can be crusted or blistered. The targets can be different shapes and sizes, hence the Latin name: erythema (redness) multi (many), forme (shapes). 

Erythema multiforme is usually mild - 'erythema multiforme minor' – with only skin involvement, and clearing up in days to weeks. There is also a rare but more severe type, 'erythema multiforme major', which has similar skin features to EM minor, but additionally there is involvement of one or more mucosal membrane (e.g. the lips, the inside of the mouth, the windpipe, the gullet, the anus or genital area, and the eyes) and usually some associated symptoms, such as fever or joint pain.

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