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What is exfoliative dermatitis?

Exfoliative dermatitis, also known as erythroderma, is an uncommon but serious skin disorder. Generalized exfoliative dermatitis is a severe inflammation of the entire skin surface due to a reaction to certain drugs (such as Bextra), or as a result of complications from another skin condition. In some cases, lymph node cancer (lymphoma) can cause generalized exfoliative dermatitis, although the underlying cause of the disease is unknown. The following are the most common symptoms of generalized exfoliative dermatitis:

• extreme redness of the skin;
• scaling;
• thickened skin;
• itching;
• swollen lymph nodes;
• fever;
• loss of fluids and proteins through the damaged skin.

Symptoms vary from person to person, and they may resemble other dermatologic conditions. Consult with your physician if you experience significant changes to your skin. Hospitalization is usually necessary for initial evaluation and treatment. In the hospital, special attention must be given to maintaining temperature control, replacing lost fluids and electrolytes, and preventing and treating infection.

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