Eczema herpeticum is the most common form of eczema, which occurs when the herpes simplex virus enters into the skin through a lesion. This form of skin swelling condition occurs when a person is suffering from atopic dermatitis. Scientific study shows that this form of skin inflammation mostly occurs in young children. However, people, who have already been battling severe form of dermatitis or psoriases, are believed to be more at risk of developing eczema herpeticum. It is life-threatening form of skin inflammation diseases that can affect people of all age groups and belonging to any race.
Occurrence of Eczema Herpeticum
Eczema herpeticum is a kind of a serious herpetic infection of a pre-existing skin disease. Generally, patients who develop this form of eczema are oblivious of their exposure to the herpes simplex virus. This kind of virus is found in people suffering from cold sores. Therefore to prevent the occurrence of eczema herpeticum, one should avoid skin contact with anyone with cold sores. The initial signs of this skin infection occur normally after 5 to 12 days when the skin comes into contact with the herpes simplex virus. After a few days of the exposure to the virus, small watery and itchy blisters appear on the skin surface, which has been previously affected with a skin disease. A person with eczema can get the herpes simplex virus anywhere on the skin.
Causes of Eczema Herpeticum
A person suffering from eczema may develop eczema herpeticum when his pre-existing skin inflammatory disease becomes inflected with the herpes virus. Therefore, the herpes simplex virus type-I is believed to be the cause of this serious condition always. Eczema herpticum is one of the serious complications that is said to be caused when the virus enters the skin lesion when the skin barrier function becomes weak due to dermatitis. Research has also shown defective cytokine secretion in the infected skin to be an important factor in triggering eczema herpeticum. The severity of pre-existing eczema does not determine the severity of eczema herpeticum. It can also occur in a person who has skin-to-skin contact with someone having genital herpes or cold sores.
Signs and symptoms of Eczema Herpeticum
A person suffering from eczema herpeticum may run a high temperature and develop rashes on the whole of the skin surface. Small skin blisters filled with yellow pus can also appear on the skin surface. Fluid may come out of the blisters when they are scratched. Eczema herpeticum appear as small clusters and looks like ulcers. A person with this skin condition generally feels unwell and blisters may get worse with every passing day.
The initial signs and symptoms of eczema herpeticum occur usually a few days later after the skin comes into contact with the virus. Skin becomes itchy and gets covered with rashes and watery blisters usually in the area where atopic dermatitis lesions were present. Blisters not only bleed but they also become encrusted and wear down causing severe pain. The viral infection spreads to the entire body of the patient and he slows starts getting fever. Lymph nodes of patients may also swell up and in some cases secondary bacterial infection may develop very frequently in large eroded areas of skin.
Eczema herperticum can be life threatening if no steps are followed for treating it once the signs and symptoms are detected. The first signs of this skin inflammatory condition can remain for nearly 2 to 6 weeks and following outbreaks can be milder unless the person suffers from an immunodeficiency condition. Cutaneous inflection may develop all over the area of the infected skin. A patient may experience severe chills and depression after the infection spreads. It may take about 7 to 10 days for new patches to form and they may get infected with staphylococcal or streptococcal organisms.
Managing Eczema Herpeticum
It is recommended that medical help be sought once the symptoms of eczema herpeticum are noticed. Anti-viral therapy can be started early on to effectively treat this skin disease. In order to control eczema herpeticum, most doctors often prescribe anti-viral medications. However, there are several medications available and these can be prescribed depending on what will be most suited for the patient.
To diagnose eczema herpeticum, doctors often ask patients to undergo diagnostic tests to find out the exact virus involved so that they can prescribe a proper therapy. Besides herpes simplex virus, molluscum contagiosum and human papillomavirus are some other viruses that can aggravate the atopic dermatitis. Doctors mostly recommend use of anti-staphylococcal drugs as they are found to be quite effective in treating an acute case of eczema herpeticum.