Article Text

Download PDFPDF

Juvenile spring eruption: a seasonal rash
  1. Claire Hope,
  2. Gita Modgil
  1. Paediatrics, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Claire Hope, Paediatrics, Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, Taunton, Somerset, UK; clairesalter{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

A boy aged 14 years presented with itchy small red lumps on the helix of each ear the morning after playing a preseason cricket match for his local club (figures 1 and 2). These lumps evolved into blisters then crusted and healed without scarring over a 10-day period. He was systemically well with no temperatures or other skin lesions, but found to have mild cervical lymphadenopathy. The lumps were noted to recur the following year at the start of the cricket season.

Figure 1

Erythematous left helix with papules.

Figure 2

Raised papules on sun-exposed areas of right helix.

Test your knowledge

  1. What is the most likely diagnosis?

    1. Sunburn

    2. Juvenile spring eruption

    3. Eczema

    4. Chondrodermatitis nodularis helicis

    5. Phytophotodermatitis

  2. What investigations should you undertake?

    1. Skin biopsy

    2. Immunoglobulins

    3. Herpes simplex virus

    4. None

  3. What are the management options?

Answers can be found on page XX



  1. B

  2. D

  3. See discussion


This is a typical history for juvenile spring eruption, a localised polymorphic light eruption. It is a photosensitive skin disorder affecting areas of sun-exposed skin particularly the ears, commonly occurring after the first significant sunshine in spring.1 It is more common in males, as girls’ ears tend to be better protected from the sun by the hair. It may occur in localised outbreaks of school-aged children.2 Itchy papules typically occur 12–24 hours after exposure to ultraviolet light on the helix of the ear. They may progress to blisters which then crust over and heal without scarring. Enlarged cervical lymph nodes may be present.

There are no investigations required—diagnosis is based on the typical history and clinical appearance.3 Management if needed involves topical steroids and emollients. Antihistamines may help with itching. Protecting the ears with sunscreens and hats, or even growing the hair long, may prevent recurrence. It can recur in subsequent years and often has a family history.

This child’s rash resolved spontaneously each year but he will be wearing a wide-brimmed hat for future cricket matches!

Ethics statements

Patient consent for publication

Ethics approval

This study does not involve human participants.



  • Twitter @babydrclaire

  • Contributors GM identified the patient and condition and supported CH in writing this article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.