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Id Reaction (Autoeczematization) Clinical Presentation

  • Author: Matthew P Evans, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
Updated: Oct 14, 2015


Id reactions result from a variety of stimuli, including infectious entities and inflammatory skin conditions. Dermatological manifestations vary and depend on the etiology of the eruption. General history may include the following:

  • Varying degrees of pruritus are typically noted.
  • An acute onset of an extremely pruritic, erythematous, morbilliform, or papulovesicular eruption occurs 1-2 weeks after primary infection or dermatitis. Id reactions associated with stasis dermatitis are usually symmetrical and, in descending order of frequency, involve the forearms, thighs, legs, trunk, face, hands, neck, and feet.
  • Id reactions are usually preceded by exacerbation of the preexisting dermatitis induced by infection, scratching, or inappropriate therapy. (Id reaction to tinea incognito has been reported.[6] )
  • Reactions have previously been reported after radiation treatment of tinea capitis.
  • Vesicles may be present on the hands or feet.
  • Fingers may be tender.
  • Travel history relating to infectious agent exposure may be relevant.
  • A history of cultural or religious practices may indicate possible contact allergens leading to an id reaction.


Clinical lesions of id reactions are quite variable and are largely predicated on the inciting etiology. Lesions are, by definition, at a site distant from the primary infection or dermatitis. They are usually distributed symmetrically. Clinical forms include the following:

  • A widespread, symmetrical eruption of small follicular papules associated with a kerion and a pompholyxlike eruption are usually associated with inflammatory tinea pedis (common).
  • An acute, intensely pruritic, symmetric maculopapular or papulovesicular reaction that involves the forearms, thighs, legs, trunk, face, hands, neck, and feet (in descending order of frequency) is typical of the id reaction with stasis dermatitis (common).
  • Erysipelaslike eruption on the anterior leg secondary to a dermatophytosis may occur (less common).
  • Extracutaneous manifestations include fever, anorexia, generalized adenopathy, splenomegaly, and leukocytosis (uncommon).
  • The clinical picture may rarely mimic erythema multiforme.[7]


The etiology of id reactions includes the following:

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Matthew P Evans, MD Chair, Department of Dermatology, Dreyer Medical Clinic

Matthew P Evans, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, Chicago Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Darryl Bronson, MD, MPH Consultant and Immediate Past Chairman, Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, Cook County Hospital of Chicago; Instructor, Department of Dermatology, University of Illinois at Chicago

Darryl Bronson, MD, MPH is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, American Medical Association, American Society of Dermatopathology, Illinois State Medical Society, Noah Worcester Dermatological Society, Society for Investigative Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Richard P Vinson, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Paul L Foster School of Medicine; Consulting Staff, Mountain View Dermatology, PA

Richard P Vinson, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology, Texas Medical Association, Association of Military Dermatologists, Texas Dermatological Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Jeffrey P Callen, MD Professor of Medicine (Dermatology), Chief, Division of Dermatology, University of Louisville School of Medicine

Jeffrey P Callen, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology, American College of Physicians, American College of Rheumatology

Disclosure: Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: XOMA; Biogen/IDEC; Novartis; Janssen Biotech, Abbvie, CSL pharma<br/>Received honoraria from UpToDate for author/editor; Received honoraria from JAMA Dermatology for associate editor and intermittent author; Received royalty from Elsevier for book author/editor; Received dividends from trust accounts, but I do not control these accounts, and have directed our managers to divest pharmaceutical stocks as is fiscally prudent from Stock holdings in various trust accounts include some pharmaceutical companies and device makers for i inherited these trust accounts; for: Celgene; Pfizer; 3M; Johnson and Johnson; Merck; Abbott Laboratories; AbbVie; Procter and Gamble; Amgen.

Chief Editor

Dirk M Elston, MD Professor and Chairman, Department of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dirk M Elston, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Donald Belsito, MD Professor of Clinical Dermatology, Department of Dermatology, Columbia University Medical Center

Donald Belsito, MD is a member of the following medical societies: New York County Medical Society, Noah Worcester Dermatological Society, Phi Beta Kappa, American Contact Dermatitis Society, Dermatology Foundation, Dermatologic Society of Greater New York, Alpha Omega Alpha, American Academy of Dermatology

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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