Erythema means a reddening of the skin. If the condition is just in one area of your body, it can mean that you have inflammation, irritation, or infection of the skin. Erythema over a joint can be a sign of joint infection. When erythema is spread over most of your body, like a rash, it is usually a sign of a more general problem. This could be an allergic reaction, viral or bacterial infection, or an immune system disease.

The cause of your condition is not clear. It may be hard to diagnose the exact cause of an illness in its early stages. More time may be needed before doctors can make a diagnosis.

Home care

Follow these guidelines when caring for yourself at home:

  • Watch for any new symptoms. Tell your healthcare provider about any that show up.

  • You may use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to control pain, unless another medicine was prescribed. If you have chronic liver or kidney disease, talk with your provider before using these medicines. Also talk with your provider if you’ve had a stomach ulcer or gastrointestinal bleeding. Don’t give aspirin to anyone under 18 years of age who is ill with a fever.

  • Have anyone who touches your skin wash his or her hands with soap and water.

  • Don’t share towels or clothes.

  • Keep the affected area clean and dry. Raising the affected area above the level of your heart may help ease swelling.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • The redness does not go away within 2 to 3 days

  • Pain or redness that gets worse

  • Fluid or pus drains from the reddened area

  • New joint pain

  • New rash

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Severe headache, neck pain, drowsiness, or confusion

  • Weakness, dizziness, repeated vomiting, or diarrhea 

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