A rare inﬂammation of the skin which causes universal itching. The skin is red, thickened and scaly. It is also called generalised exfoliative dermatitis (see SKIN, DISEASES OF). It may complicate chronic eczema (see DERMATITIS) or PSORIASIS, particularly in men, in the second half of life. It may also result from HYPERSENSITIVITY to a drug, such as gold injections used in RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. Rarely, it may be a manifestation of T-cell LYMPHOMA.
Universal inﬂammation of the skin may cause heart failure, particularly in elderly people with pre-existing heart disease. It may lead to HYPOTHERMIA due to excessive heat loss from the skin and protein deﬁciency caused by the shedding of large quantities of skin scales containing keratin. Rarely, these complications can be fatal.
Treatment depends on the cause, but in eczematous erythroderma, oral CORTICOSTEROIDS (PREDNISOLONE) in full dosage may be needed.