Bull’s Eye Rashes – Lyme Disease and Other Causes

Rashes always grip us with a bit of alerm. With the wide variety of causes, it’s no wonder that individuals seek out knowledge on various skin rashes that they are inflicted with. The bull’s eye rash is no exception. Sometimes referred to as a target, it has various causes and descriptions. Generally all these types of rashes have an outer ring and then center clears to show normal skin color. But what are these rashes and how are they treated?

Erythema annulare centrifugum has also been referred to as figurate erythema, annular erythema, erythema perstans, and erythema gyratum perstans. The rashes are generally pink or red and ring shaped. Although not all rashes in this category will have a distinct round shape. Some may be slightly disfigured. This rash can infect anyone in any age group. It usually starts out as a small raised red blotch that enlarges and then the center clears up and the outer edges for a red crust round ring. In this way it looks like a shooting target on the body. These targets generally appear on the lower body and legs, but can occasionally occur on the arms and trunk. These small targets may enlarge and eventually merge together.

Most often there is no specific reason this rash occurs, although they have occasionally been linked to some diseases. These diseases include infections that are bacterial, viral or fungal such as tuberculosis, Cancer, reoccurring or chronic appendicitis, grave’s disease, or liver disease. On some occasions the target rash has been linked to food like blue cheese or tomatoes, or medications like penicillin. These rashes can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. Most rashes will disappear on their own; however some doctors will prescribe corticosteroid cream.

Another type of rash with a circle is Erythema multiforme. This rash is an actual skin disorder due to an allergic reaction to medicines or illnesses. Most often it is associated with the herpes virus but occasional medications like barbiturates and penicillin are to blame. While it can affect the young or the old, it commonly inflicts children and young adults. Symptoms include fever, joint ache, itching, and the rash, starts quickly and spreads plus can occur on the upper body and include the mouth and lips with blisters. Treatment options are geared towards treating the cause of the rash, usually the herpes virus. However antihistamines, cool compresses, and corticosteroid creams can help the rash itself.

The most common target rash is caused by Lyme disease. Lyme disease is caused by being bit by a tick that is carrying the disease. The rash appears about 1-2 weeks after infection and is characterized by a red center surrounded by clear skin with a red out edge in a distinct target shape. The rash itself will disappear within a month, and some people will have no further problems. Occasionally however, Lyme disease can spread to other areas of the body and even affect the heart. The infected individual will be tired, and generally feel ill and have other rashes. Eventually numbness or tingling of the fingers and hands may occur. During this stage Lyme disease is treatable, but if left untreated, Lyme disease can cause arthritis and memory lapses.

Since a bull’s eye rash can be caused by a variety of illnesses, it is important to contact a doctor when the rash appears. Sometimes there may be nothing to worry about; however there is always the potential for a serious underlying condition. It is always easiest to treat an illness in the beginning stages than to wait until it is too late.