When a patient’s skin gets papules, macules or both, he or she is said to be having maculopapular rash. The macules are flat, non-elevated, small discolored regions on the skin, whereas papules are smaller, and are characterized by swellings on the skin. The rash is closely associated with HIV infections, but it can also be caused by a number of other conditions. Everybody can suffer from maculopapular rash, and it occurs in any part of the body. In the beginning the rashes are red, but soon become skin discolorations in the later stages.
What are the causes of maculopapular rash?
- Epstein – Barr virus – people who are suffering from cancer in China and Africa will get this virus. The virus is spread by animals and causes huge blisters and fever.
- Syphilis – In this case the maculopapular rash will form ulcerative blisters after rupturing. Since this is very painful, the sufferer must go for a penicillin shot.
- Scabies – Since this is a contagious disease, care is needed when handling a patient. There is severe skin irritation in this case.
- Rubella – This is a light form of measles which lasts for 3 to 4 days and is sometimes called the German measles.
- Chikungunya – This is a virus that causes high fever and rashes and it is spread by the bite of a mosquito.
- Dengue fever – This is one of the main causes of maculopapular rashes, and it is also spread by the bite of a mosquito. This fever comes with rashes and joint pains. The fever causes the number of platelets in the blood to drop, thereby causing people to bleed without clotting, and this leads to death.
- Type 1 HIV – The virus brings about the maculopapular rashes in almost all cases and that is why they are also known as the HIV rashes.
- Low Cholesterol – Due to the excess use of the Vitamin B3 (Niacin) in people with low cholesterol levels, the rash will come about.
- Medications – If you are taking antibiotics you may develop a maculopapular rash. There are other drugs that bring on the condition. The drugs used by cancer patients can also cause the rash to flare up.
Diagnosis of maculopapular rash
The doctor will first go through the history of the patient and give a physical exam. It is during the history phase that the doctor can tell whether the patient has maculopapular rash or not. The patient has to tell about past infections, and what had happened when the rash began. The doctor will carefully look at the rash in order to ascertain that it is maculopapular rash, and the doctor will also see if there is pain, or irritation at the site of the rash.
The doctor will then ask for lab tests in order to confirm the causative agent. The tests will include pustule culture test, cerebro-spinal fluid test and a syphilis test. The doctor will also check the ENT, joints, nerves, lungs and genitals.
The doctor may also diagnose maculopapular rash due to its clinical presentation of the symptoms. If the maculopapular rash appears on a patient’s face, then the cause may be measles or other viruses. If the rash is accompanied by headaches and confusion, then the cause may be Gonococcemia. If there is joint swelling accompanying the rash, then the cause may be meningococcemia. When the rash causes one to have difficulty in breathing, then the cause may be pharyngitis or anaphylaxis. If the patient has a purulent urethral drainage, then the doctor will know that the rash has entered into the genital parts of the body.
Maculopapular rash treatment
- The main form of treatment is symptomatic and involves treating the symptoms of the condition. By targeting the causative agent, the treatment effectively combats the rash.
- Chloroquine – this is given to people who have been infected by the Chikungunya virus and only after a serological laboratory test has confirmed that it is the one causing the maculopapular rash. The drug is an anti-inflammatory drug and will help ease the effects of the rash, as well as kill the virus.
- Intravenous Fluids and Oral Rehydration – These are used to cure people with mild dengue fever. If you have severe dengue then you may require a full blood transfusion.
- Pain killers – For people who have the EBV virus, then painkillers are given to alleviate the pain associated with the maculopapular rash in this case.
- Rest and Oral Fluid Intake – This is also suggested for people who have the EBV virus.
- Ultraviolet and Gamma Radiations – Since the virus that causes maculopapular rash has no definite cure, the radiation can be used, but as a last resort.
Maculopapular rash pictures