Maculopapular Rash

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Maculopapular Rash Definition:- It is a skin rash characterized by redness of the skin and formation of red bumps on the flattened skin rashes. As the name suggests, it is derived from the fusion of two words, Macules and Papules.

Maculopapular Rash- An Introduction

A person having a Maculopapular rash has macules, papules or both on the skin. Macules are usually flat, small, non-elevated and faded spots on the epidermal layer of the skin and papules are small and puffed-up bumps on the skin. Both macules and papules measure less than 10 mm in size. Due to inflammation, the rash appears as reddish and raised bumps and can be categorized as acute, sub-acute or chronic.

This rash is connected to HIV infections but there are several other causes that can give rise to this rash on a person’s skin. It is also known as erythematous maculopapular rash due to the abnormal redness of the skin due to capillary congestion that is one of the symptoms of this skin disease.

Who is mostly affected by this condition?

There is no specific age, gender or race that is affected by this skin disease. These rashes can appear anywhere on the body including the face, chest or extremities. In case of children, the appearance of rashes is more noticeable on that palm and soles.

Maculopapular Rash Causes

Though HIV is the leading cause of Maculopapular Rash, there are several other causes that contribute to the development of this skin disease. Some of the causes are:

  • Dengue
  • Chikungunya
  • Syphilis
  • Scabies
  • Rubella
  • Type 1 HIV
  • Epstein-Barr Virus
  • Measles
  • Low cholesterol
  • Medication

Let’s study more about each:

Dengue :- It is life threatening disease that can give rise to these rashes on the body. Dengue is caused by a mosquito bite and is marked by very high fever, acute joint pains and skin rashes. The infection becomes serious when the platelet level of the patient begins to drop, leading to bleeding in different organs.

Chikungunya :- Almost similar to Dengue, Chikungunya infection is also caused by a mosquito. The only difference being that Chikungunya is not marked by low platelet count and intensity of joint pains is much more and long lasting than Dengue. Other symptoms of this infection are high fever, joint pains that can last up to two years after the infection and rashes.

Syphilis :- It is another leading cause of Maculopapular Rash. It is a sexually transmitted disease which can lead to severe complications, if left untreated for a long period of time. If the rash is caused by Syphilis, it may develop into ulcerative blisters and become extremely painful.

Scabies :- It is a skin infection caused by a very tiny mite known as Sarcoptes Scabei. It is also known as a seven year itch. This condition can lead to Maculopapular rash which is often accompanied by bouts of severe itching resulting in skin irritation.

Rubella :- Also known as German measles, Rubella is a type of measles which is mild and lasts for about 4-5 days. It is a highly contagious infection, caused by the Rubella virus and occurs mostly in children and young adults.

Type 1 HIV :- The Type 1 Human Immunodeficiency Virus is the most leading cause of Maculopapular rash. It is because if this that this rash is also known as the HIV rash. It is one of the characteristic symptoms of Type 1 HIV infection.

Epstein – Barr virus :- It is also called the Herpes virus and is one of the eight known viruses in the Herpes family. It can be passed on from one person to another by the means of saliva like kissing or sharing a glass of water. This virus is responsible for skin rashes which later develop into blisters and high fever.

Measles :- It is a highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus. Symptoms include total body skin rashes, high grade fever, runny nose, sore throat and cough.

Low Cholesterol :- People with low cholesterol are at high risk of development of Maculopapular Rash due to excessive use of Vitamin B3 and Niacin by the body.

Medication :- Common drugs like Amoxicillin and day to day antibiotics can give rise to this rash. It can also be caused by medicines like Cefobid and Cefoperazone Sodium. Strong chemotherapy medicines can also cause Maculopapular Rash.

Some other rare causes of Maculopapular Rash are:

  • Adenovirus
  • Acamprosate
  • Herpes Virus 6
  • Hypersensitivity Vasculitis
  • Infectious Mononucleosis
  • Typhoid fever
  • Semliki forest fever
  • Roseola
  • Lassa fever
  • West Nile fever
  • Marburg virus
  • Adenovirus
  • Scrub typhus

Maculopapular Rash Symptoms

The symptoms are not just limited to its own but can also be a result of several other underlying medications or diseases.

Some of the possible symptoms of Maculopapular Rash are:

  • Appearance of papules that are small and elevated
  • Colour change of papules
  • Fever (low or high grade)
  • Itching
  • Burning of the skin
  • Formation of ulcerative blisters
  • Bruises

In cases where the rash is accompanied with irritation, it is known as Pruritic Maculopapular Rash.

Another condition in which a person may suffer from red rashes along with white spots is called Blanching Maculopapular rash.

Maculopapular Rash Diagnosis

Patient’s clinical history

The first and foremost thing that the doctor will do is ask your medical and family history. The patient might also have to answer a number of other questions like:

How did the rash begin?

When did the rash begin?

What were the other symptoms?

How often does the patient have this rash?

Was the patient suffering from an infection when the rash occurred?

If yes, what was the infection?

Physical examination

Along with this, the doctor may also conduct a detailed physical examination to ascertain if the rash is actually a Maculopapular rash or not.

Laboratory tests

Some lab tests that the doctor may ask you to undergo are:

  • Syphilis test
  • Pustule culture test
  • Cerebral-spinal fluid test
  • CBC or Complete blood count
  • Examination of ENT, joints, lungs, genitals and nerves

Based on clinical indicators

Maculopapular rash can also be diagnosed based on the patient’s symptoms.

  • If the rash appears on the face, it can be a sign of measles or Rubella
  • If the rashes are accompanied with headache and confusion, then the patient may be suffering from Gonococcemia
  • Joint inflammation may be indicative of Meningococcemia
  • Breathing problems may indicate Pharyngitis or Anaphylaxis

Maculopapular Rash Treatment

The selection of treatment primarily depends on the cause of the rash. Some of the treatment methods are:

Chloroquine :- If the cause of the rash is Chikungunya, then the patient is administered doses of chloroquine. Blood tests are carried out to ascertain of Chikungunya is the cause of the itchy rashes. Chloroquine is an anti-inflammatory disease that helps curtail the disease and reduce the symptoms.

Indicative treatment :- The first step is to figure out which disease is causing the rash. The causative agent is then treated with the apt medicines.

Pain-killers :- If the cause of the rash is Epstein – Barr virus, then the patient is given analgesics and pain-killers to help relieve the symptoms.

Blood transfusion :- If the cause is Dengue, then the patient is given oral therapy if the infection is mild. In case of severe infections, blood transfusion is also required.

UV and Gamma Radiations :- If other treatments are not effective, the last resort is to undergo ultraviolet or gamma radiation.

Maculopapular Rash Home remedies

There are certain tried and verified home remedies that can help in providing relief from Maculopapular Rash:

Aloe Vera :- Aloe Vera helps in soothing the skin and provides relief from itching and inflammation.

Turmeric & Honey :- A mix of turmeric and honey is very effective in the treatment of the rash. Turmeric has fantastic anti-microbial properties that help in providing relief from the severity of the rash.

Tea Tree Oil :- If the cause of the rash is a micro-organism, then tea tree oil is the best solution for getting relief.

Homeopathic Drugs :- Some homeopathic drugs like Sulphur and Apis Mel help is getting rid of these rashes.

Maculopapular Rash Pictures

This rash can affect different parts of the body. Let’s take a look at these pictures to see what Maculopapular rash looks like in different patients and on different parts of the body:

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Maculopapular Rash seen on the chest of a man

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