About erythema toxicum
Erythema toxicum is a harmless red rash, which many newborns get. It happens in up to half of all term babies. It’s less common in premature babies.
It’s also called ‘toxic erythema of the newborn’ or ‘erythema toxicum neonatorum’.
Symptoms of erythema toxicum
In term babies who get erythema toxicum, the rash usually comes up 1-3 days after birth. In premature babies who get it, the rash usually starts several weeks after birth.
The erythema toxicum rash looks like a combination of flat, red patches, tiny red bumps and pus-filled bumps.
Erythema toxicum can come up on any part of your baby’s body, but it usually starts on the face. It sometimes spreads to the arms, legs and torso. It doesn’t usually come up on palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
The rash tends to come and go over a few days. It doesn’t leave scars.
Babies with erythema toxicum are usually well and healthy. They’re generally not bothered by the rash.
Does your child need to see a doctor about erythema toxicum?
- the rash is spreading
- your baby is fussy, not feeding well, has a fever, isn’t producing wet nappies or seems generally unwell
- you’re concerned about your baby.
Treatment for erythema toxicum
Your baby doesn’t need any special treatment because the erythema toxicum rash is harmless and not contagious. It will go away by itself after a week or so.
Causes of erythema toxicum
We don’t really know what causes erythema toxicum. We do know that it isn’t caused by an infection.