Although there are various published studies on erythroderma from western and Asian countries, most of them have only included patients in the adult age groups. As we have an exclusively pediatric dermatology unit, we thought it would be intriguing to study the clinical, etiological and laboratory parameters of erythroderma in children. Seventeen erythroderma patients of both sexes were inducted into the study between 1993 to 1998. The mean age of onset was 3.3 years and the male:female ratio was 0.89:1. Eight (47%) of the patients were infants; 9 (53%) others belonged to the preschool and school going age group (age range between 1 to 12 years). An acute onset of the disease was seen in 47% of the patients while 53% of the patients had a chronic onset. The main presenting complaints were itching in 41% and burning in 18% of patients. Scalp involvement (71%), nail involvement (18%), and alopecia (6%) were the main cutaneous features observed while fever (53%), tachycardia (53%), pedal edema (12%), lymphadenopathy (18%), and hepatomegaly (12%) were the main systemic features observed in this study. Etiologically, drugs (29%), showed the highest incidence, followed equally (18%) by genodermatoses, psoriasis, and staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS). Two (12%) patients had erythroderma due to atopic dermatitis, while one was (5%) due to infantile seborrheic dermatitis coexisting with dermatophytosis. Laboratory parameters contributed little towards diagnosis of the underlying dermatological condition. Thus, though erythroderma is a striking entity, it is yet uncommon in the pediatric age group. Because the drug induced group was the largest in this study, we recommend that drugs should be suspected as important causative factors of erythroderma in children.
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