How do I Treat an Epstein-Barr Rash?

Sheri Cyprus

Treating an Epstein-Barr rash by regularly applying aloe vera gel may help reduce itchiness as well as redness. Eating foods thought to have anti-inflammatory properties such as certain types of seafood, fruits and spices can also help treat a rash caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). In many cases, an Epstein-Barr rash will go away on its own, but soothing treatments can help ease the mild discomfort that the skin flare-up typically causes.

Aloe gel has a calming effect on the skin.
Aloe gel has a calming effect on the skin.

If an EBV rash persists or is overly itchy, a doctor should assess the possible treatment options. Antibiotics are not usually recommended because they may worsen the rash rather than remedy it. Yet, if the Epstein-Barr rash is accompanied by strep throat or other type of secondary infection, treatment with antibiotics may be necessary. Confirmation by a doctor through blood tests that the rash is indeed caused by the Epstein-Barr virus is important so that other causes can be ruled out and proper treatment can be prescribed.

An Epstein-Barr virus rash might be relieved with tumeric.
An Epstein-Barr virus rash might be relieved with tumeric.

When an Epstein-Barr rash becomes raised and extremely itchy, it may mean that the liver has been affected, so professional medical treatment is necessary in this case. Liver issues are especially likely if an itchy, raised EBV rash is accompanied by other symptoms such as a poor appetite, nausea and headaches. The Epstein-Barr virus may cause a swollen liver or spleen; care should be taken to avoid contact sports in order to help prevent organ rupture.

Garlic, ginger and tumeric are said to have anti-inflammatory properties than may help ease discomfort caused by an EBV rash. Fish and pineapple are other anti-inflammatory foods that may be beneficial for someone with an Epstein-Barr rash to incorporate into his or her diet. Drinking enough water each day to stay hydrated is thought to be important for those with a viral rash and other EBV symptoms.

Extracts from the aloe vera plant have been used to treat infections and other skin disorders since 1500 BC in Egypt. The gel-like substance from a cut stalk of the plant can be applied to an Epstein-Barr rash about three times a day to help soothe it. Many areas sell aloe vera plants at garden centers or even supermarkets; typically, they last fairly long as houseplants in most climates. A leaf can be cut from the plant and the vitamin E and vitamin C rich gel inside may then be scooped out and applied to the rash. As an alternative to fresh aloe vera gel, many stores sell an extracted version in tubes.

An Epstein-Barr rash commonly will go away on its own.
An Epstein-Barr rash commonly will go away on its own.

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Discussion Comments

@fBoyle-- OTC antihistamines help, but they're not always enough. You're actually lucky if your rash resolved in days. Mine lasted for weeks! My doctor said that some people's last for months. Seeing a doctor for medication is the best idea.

@fBoyle-- What was the diagnosis for the rash?

It sounds like it was very serious. It wasn't Stevens-Johnson syndrome right? I believe the Epstein Barr virus can rarely cause this if the person is allergic to the virus. But it's not common and very dangerous so I'm guessing you just had a regular Epstein Barr rash.

I had Epstein Barr syndrome which included a rash last year. The worst part about it was the itching. Taking cool showers and aloe vera gel with a pain reliever helped a lot.


I developed an Epstein-Barr rash after taking antibiotics. I think the antibiotics actually triggered the rash even though the underlying cause is the Epstein-Barr virus.

Anyway, I had to go to the hospital twice because the rash wasn't going away. I was covered with red, itchy spots everywhere. I took OTC allergy medication and used a rash cream. They helped with the itching but didn't resolve the rash. I was eventually given a stronger antihistamine at the hospital and the rash started going away after that. It still took more than a day to disappear totally though.

So if any of you have been tested positive for the Epstein-Barr virus, think twice before taking antibiotics. Make sure that you really do need it as part of your Epstein-Barr treatment because the antibiotics might lead to a rash.

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