Erythema toxicum is a common rash seen in full-term newborns. It usually appears in the first few days after birth and fades within a week.
Up to half of all newborns will have erythema toxicum (air-uh-THEE-muh TOK-sih-kum). The rash can be on the baby's face, chest, arms, and legs, but usually won't be on the palms or soles of the feet. It's a blotchy red rash with small bumps that can be filled with fluid. Although the fluid might look like pus, there is no infection.
Erythema toxicum — also called erythema toxicum neonatorum (ETN) — doesn't cause any symptoms and goes away on its own. So, no treatment is needed.
You can care for your newborn's skin normally:
- Sponge bathe your baby with a gentle washcloth until the umbilical cord falls off, which usually takes about 1–4 weeks.
- Do not bathe your baby in a tub until after the first week of life and after the umbilical cord has fallen off.
- Most babies only need to be bathed 2–3 times per week.
- Use warm water and a baby-specific liquid cleanser that is mild and unscented.
Call your doctor if:
- The skin bumps get worse or have not gone away by the time your baby is about 2 weeks old.
- Your baby develops a new rash.
- Your baby isn't feeding well.
- Your baby has a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher when the temperature is taken rectally.
- Your baby seems floppy, fussy, or very drowsy.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2022 KidsHealth ® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com