Sweet's syndrome is a rare skin condition. Its main signs include fever and painful skin lesions that appear mostly on your arms, neck, head and trunk.
The exact cause of Sweet's syndrome isn't known. In some people, it's triggered by an infection, illness or certain medications. Sweet's syndrome can also occur with some types of cancer.
The most common treatment for Sweet's syndrome is corticosteroid pills, such as prednisone. Signs and symptoms often disappear just a few days after treatment begins, but recurrence is common.
The main sign of Sweet's syndrome is small red bumps on your arms, neck, head or trunk. They often appear abruptly after a fever or upper respiratory infection. The bumps grow quickly in size, spreading into painful clusters up to an inch (2.5 centimeters) or so in diameter.
If you develop a painful, red rash that quickly grows in size, see your doctor for appropriate treatment.
In most cases, the cause of Sweet's syndrome isn't known. Sweet's syndrome is sometimes associated with cancer, most often leukemia.
Occasionally, this disorder may be associated with a solid tumor, such as breast or colon cancer. Sweet's syndrome may also occur as a reaction to a medication â most commonly a type of drug that boosts production of white blood cells.
Your dermatologist might be able to diagnose Sweet's syndrome simply by looking at the lesions. But you're likely to have certain tests to rule out conditions that have similar symptoms and to search for the underlying cause. These tests include:
There is a risk of the skin lesions becoming infected. Follow your doctor's recommendations for caring for the affected skin.
In cases where Sweet's syndrome is associated with cancer, the eruptions of the lesions may be the first sign of cancer either appearing or recurring.
Sweet's syndrome is uncommon, but certain factors increase your risk, including: