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Nikolsky's sign
Nikolsky's sign


Skin layers
Skin layers


Definition:

Nikolsky's sign is a skin condition in which the top layers of the skin slip away from the lower layers when slightly rubbed.



Considerations:

Nikolsky's sign is either positive or negative. A positive result may be present in several different medical conditions. People with a positive sign have loose skin that slips free from the underlying layers when rubbed. The area beneath is pink and moist and may be very tender.

Typically, your health care provider will test for this sign simply by twisting a pencil eraser against your skin. If positive, a blister will form in the area, usually within minutes.



Common Causes:

Home Care:

There is no home care for most conditions associated with a positive Nikolsky's sign -- most affected people are hospitalized.



Call your health care provider if:

Call your health care provider if you or your child develop loosening, redness, and blistering of the skin without an obvious cause.



What to expect at your health care provider's office:

The conditions associated with Nikolsky's sign are serious, and most people are sent to the hospital. You will be asked for your medical history and given a physical examination . You may be given fluid and antibiotics through a vein (intravenously ).

Your doctor may ask the following questions:

  • When did you first notice that the skin was red or blistered?
  • What other symptoms occur at the same time?



Review Date: 2/5/2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Associate, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100