What is Eczema Herpeticum: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Imbalance in our bodies will always migrate up to the surface. This is the case with eczema herpeticum which is a result of the herpes virus catching wind like a wildfire. The immune system, already compromised by the virus, overreacts to irritants and explodes. Babies and senior citizens are vulnerable and have even found death in rare instances.

What is Eczema Herpeticum?

Have you ever experienced a cold sore? That is what eczema herpeticum is like, almost. It is related to the Herpes Simplex 1 Virus.

Eczema herpeticum is when that virus is provoked through trauma or other illness to spread across the face and other extremities. Consistently, it appears on the head, neck, and trunk.

It is a chicken and egg situation because HSV can cause a widespread breakout of eczema or a person already living with eczema can progress into eczema herpeticum when coming into contact with the virus.

Pictures of Eczema Herpeticum

Concerned you or a loved one might have this ailment? The ideal way to ease your concerns is to review some images of confirmed cases. These poor souls have battled this uneasy condition.

Eczema Herpeticum Symptoms to Watch For

Rashes are funny because they can be so similar and so different in their cause and treatment. Eczema herpeticum symptoms specific to this viral strain include:

  • Clusters of rash. Specifically spreading rash that includes nodules that once broken open, can weep fluids, bleed, or seep pus.
  • Intolerable itchiness.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Fatigue.
  • Puffy lymph nodes.

Diagnosis for Eczema Herpeticum

How do you get a diagnosis for eczema herpeticum? Typically, a professional can identify the condition by sight. Occasionally, a surface swab may be performed to rule out any additional or more serious conditions that can mimic the look of eczema herpeticum. The swab can check for bacterial infections as well.

If you want reassurance that the source is herpes 1 virus, blood panels are the answer.

Eczema Herpeticum Treatment Possibilities

Antiviral medications can help suppress breakouts. Most eczema herpeticum treatments aim to halt outbreaks because the inactive virus doesn’t wreak havoc. The sores make the person vulnerable to infection and further disease.

The most popularly prescribed medicine is acyclovir. It is believed to be generally safe for the majority of patients, including those under 18 years of age. Immunocompromised individuals should consult with their doctor about antiviral and antibacterial drugs to keep them safe from progressive infections.

Is Eczema Contagious?

The ick factor of skin infections is high. People don’t want to be struck with the grossness. But is it contagious?

Even though Herpes Simplex 1 is contagious, the rash caused by eczema is not. How do you get eczema? This isn’t fully understood yet. It’s possible to contract HSV by skin contact with an open wound of someone with eczema herpeticum. Other forms of eczema are not as contagious because they are an isolated allergic reaction to an environmental factor, whereas this strain is a flareup of the herpes virus.

As always, it is better safe than sorry, so if you encounter any style of rash on another human, practice caution. Preferably wear gloves and avoid touching the breakout at all costs. Contacting the wound can increase the risk of the affected of new germs.

How to Treat Eczema Without a Prescription

Since there is no drug cure, many patients opt for alternative therapies. There is anecdotal and scientific support of the following therapeutic approaches:

Wet dressings. May seem counterintuitive to wrap a wound in a moist bandage, but in the case of eczema dryness can be the enemy. Usually, this is performed in an in-patient setting because it is labor and time intensive.

Relaxation techniques. Stress is a top trigger for outbreaks. Since the virus is immune related, any time the system is overworked it can bring new blisters.

Light therapy. Exposure to narrowband ultraviolet B light calms inflammation, reduces itching, and shrinks the rash in eczema victims. The procedure is called phototherapy and improves around 70% of people that test it out. For some, it has put their symptoms into remission for extended periods of time.

Counseling. The physical symptoms aren’t the only outcome of the disease. Because it can hinder your beauty or attractiveness – and because it is viewed as grotesque by outsiders — it can feel isolating. Cognitive therapy helps people move through those feelings and separate their self-worth to their conventional attractiveness.

A combination of traditional medical attention and alternative approaches have proven to be successful for many people. A process of trial-and-error until something sticks is a proactive plan of attack.



Article References:

  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317647.php
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353279
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3520662/
  4. https://www.medicinenet.com/is_eczema_contagious/article.htm
  5. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353279
  6. https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/treatment/phototherapy/