What Is Palmar Erythema?
Palmar erythema is a common skin condition which affects the face. It may cause redness, swelling and itching. The disease is caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1). This virus can infect any part of your body including the palms of your hands, soles of your feet, genital area or mouth. However, it mainly affects the face.
The virus produces lesions on the skin’s surface called blisters. These blisters are filled with pus and blood vessels. The infection spreads through contact with infected secretions from infected areas of the body such as the eyes, nose or mouth.
When these secretions enter into your bloodstream they produce inflammation and pain.
How Does Palmar Erythema Affect Your Face?
When HSV-1 enters the eye, it causes conjunctivitis. This is an inflammation of the cornea. The cornea contains clear fluid that helps protect our vision. If this fluid becomes inflamed, it can lead to blindness and even death if not treated immediately.
When the virus enters the nose, it can cause a sore throat. This is because the mouth and the nose are next to each other. If you have a sore throat or cold, you should not kiss anybody as you may pass the virus to them through saliva.
You should also avoid sharing drinks and utensils.
When the virus affects the genitals, it leads to genital herpes. It may or may not cause blisters on the genital region. However, if the virus affects your mouth or genital area and you are around a newborn baby, the virus can lead to a potentially fatal condition known as neonatal herpes.
This is because newborn babies have very weak immune systems and are unable to fight off an infection.
If you have palmar erythema and have had cold sores in the past, it means you have been infected with the HSV-1 virus. There is no cure for this condition. You may be prescribed medication to reduce the pain caused by the blisters and to speed up the healing process.
In addition to this, you should avoid direct sunlight and stay hydrated.
What Are The Symptoms Of Palmar Erythema?
The worst and most common symptom of palmar erythema is the appearance of red spots on the palms of the hands. These spots appear suddenly. They may be tender or painful to the touch. They may also itch or burn. Some people experience a mild fever after the spots appear.
As the condition develops, small fluid-filled blisters begin to develop on the palms of the hands. These blisters are usually painless. However, they may be infected by bacteria which increases the risk of developing sepsis or blood poisoning.
If left untreated, this can be fatal.
In some cases, these blisters become crusted and yellowish in color. This is known as a honey moon phase. Whilst the blisters are present, you should avoid contact with other people to prevent the spread of infection.
How Is Palmar Erythema Diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a physical examination of your skin. You may be asked about any symptoms you are experiencing and about your medical history. The doctor may also want to examine your eyes, nose or mouth.
If the doctor suspects that you have palmar erythema, he or she will take a sample of skin cells from the palms of your hands. The cells are then looked at under a microscope to see if they contain the virus.
What Is The Treatment For Palmar Erythema?
Palmar erythema is most commonly treated with antiviral medication. These medications can help to speed up the healing and recovery process. They may also reduce the chance of the condition recurring in the future.
If you have blisters on your palms, these should be covered with gauze to prevent them from becoming infected. You may also be prescribed an antibacterial ointment to apply to the skin. Drinking plenty of water will also help the healing process.
If you have palmar erythema and the blisters cover a large surface area, your doctor may prescribe medication to control your pain.
What Is The Outlook For Palmar Erythema?
The outlook for palmar erythema is good as long as you seek early treatment. The condition usually heals completely within two years in most cases. It may take longer to heal if you suffer from frequent recurrences of the condition.
Sources & references used in this article:
Palmar erythema by R Serrao, M Zirwas, JC English – American journal of clinical dermatology, 2007 – Springer
Vascular changes of the skin in pregnancy—Vascular spiders and palmar erythema by WB Bean, R Cogswell, M Dexter… – … & Gynecological Survey, 1949 – journals.lww.com
Palmar erythema: cutaneous marker of neoplasms by JP Noble, S Boisnic, MC Branchet-Gumila, M Poisson – Dermatology, 2002 – karger.com
A note on palmar erythema (so-called liver palms) by GA Perera – Journal of the American Medical Association, 1942 – jamanetwork.com
Palmar erythema and spider angiomata in rheumatoid arthritis by JH BLAND, R O’BRIEN… – Annals of internal …, 1958 – acpjournals.org
Palmar erythema in rheumatoid arthritis by R Saario, JL Kalliomäki – Clinical rheumatology, 1985 – Springer
Indurated reticulate palmar erythema as a sign of paraneoplastic palmar fasciitis and polyarthritis syndrome by VA Preda, P Frederiksen… – Australasian journal of …, 2009 – Wiley Online Library
Sarcoidosis presenting as palmar erythema. by S Cliff, Y Hart, G Knowles, K Misch – Clinical and experimental …, 1998 – europepmc.org