Symptoms & Signs
The fever usually precedes the beginning of each crop of lesions. Fever may precede the skin disease for several days or weeks, or it may occur simultaneously. The crop of plaques or nodules in the classic form often appears abruptly and may persist for weeks or several months (days to weeks) if left untreated.
Many patients report a febrile upper respiratory tract infection, tonsillitis or flu-like 1-3 weeks before the onset of skin lesions. Vaccination or an infection of the gastrointestinal tract may also precede the eruption. Headache, malaise and joint pain are common.
Cutaneous manifestations of acute febrile neutrophilic dermatosis (Sweet's syndrome):
Typical skin lesions are papules blue or purple-red plaques or nodules. The lesions may be studded with pustules. Plaques can cause pain and burning, but they are not pruritic (itching). Lesions spontaneously resolve without scarring, or they resolve after treatment. The face, neck, and extremities primarily are affected, characteristically in an asymmetric distribution.
Bullae and ulcers are more common with malignant tumors. These injuries can be extensive and are usually difficult to treat.