Issue #050 - What is Eczema Herpeticum?
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This month's Eczema Bulletin includes
- September's Featured Article – What is Eczema Herpeticum?
- My favourite eczema news article
- Tip of the Month
- 5 Ways To.....use turmeric to help manage your eczema
What is Eczema Herpeticum?
Eczema Herpeticum is a complication of atopic dermatitis caused by the Herpes Simplex virus. This is the same virus that causes cold sores.
Everybody can get cold sores although children are more prone to them. As the virus is passed through contact, school is a major sharing ground. Cold sores mainly appear around the mouth and lips. They appear either singularly or in clusters.
A herpes simplex infection, in healthy people, is pretty harmless. If you have eczema it can be a different story.
Anyone can be affected by eczema herpeticum, though children tend to suffer more often. This is for the same reason that they are more prone to cold sores. They are more likely to have contact with other people who have the virus.
If it is not treated quickly or properly it can be potentially life threatening. Luckily in almost all cases the condition tends to be diagnosed quickly and the treatment started straight away.
The main symptom to
look out for are blisters. They could
The symptoms usually appear 5-10 days after contact appearing mainly found on the face, although it can spread to other areas of the body.
- be filled with clear or yellow fluid
- look alike
- weep or bleed
- be red or purple in colour
- become widespread quickly
You may also feel generally unwell, like you have a fever. You may also feel and nauseous and tired.
As soon as you suspect you have herpeticum you should visit your doctor so treatment can be started as soon as possible.
There are two treatments used;
These are antiviral medications that fight the virus and can be taken as either tablets or liquid. A course is normally taken for 5 days and should always be completed. Completing the course helps to make sure that the virus has completely gone. It also
reduces the likelihood of an immediate recurrence.
- Acyclovir, branded as Zovirax
- Valaciclovir, branded as Valtrex
When treating only use prescribed medications. Do not use the over the counter cold sore treatments, or any treatment used against the herpes simplex virus.
When you have eczema herpeticum it is really important not to scratch your skin. It causes skin damage which allows the virus to spread easier.
Because the herpes simplex virus is the same virus that causes cold sores it is important to avoid contact with anyone who is suffering from cold sores. It is better to go for cold sore prevention rather than having to treat a herpes simplex infection.
Eczema News Article
A research team at the University of Dundee have found that UV light treatment is more effective than steroids creams and tablets at treating severe eczema and psoriasis.
The research team looked at the results of 1,800 patients with severe psoriasis who were given UV treatment over six years. They found that three-quarters had a massive improvement in their psoriasis and the need for steroid creams was reduced by 25%.
Phototherapy has been a treatment for eczema and psoriasis for many years, but this study is the first to show that it can reduce the amount of steroids needed to treat them. This includes steroids taken orally and by injection, both of which can have severe side effects.
Tip Of The Month - Body Piercings and Eczema
Is there a risk that having any piercings could cause a flare-up of your eczema?
The actual process of body piercing doesn't seem to be a cause of flare-ups. The only issue that may occur is if the person performing the piercing is wearing latex gloves, and you have an allergy to latex. Luckily that is easily sorted out as they may already have latex-free gloves, or you could take your own, just to make sure.
The main issue with piercing seems to be with the metal that the jewellery is made from. A lot of jewellry, including earrings, studs and bars, will contain nickel.
Nickel allergy is the most common metal allergy. The symptoms that may appear in someone with a sensitivity to nickel could show as contact dermatitis. These include inflammation and itchiness.
People have piercings on different parts of the body, no body part seems to be off limits! The most common places for piercings are ears, belly button and tongue. Some parts of the
body are more sensitive than others and will be more prone to a nickel allergy, so more care has to be taken.
If after having a piercing one you notice that your skin is red and sore, and feeling itchy, remove the jewellry as soon as possible. The skin should then be treated the same way as you treat eczema normally. Although check with your doctor before using topical steroid treatment on sensitive areas, for example, on genitalia.
Before having a piercing you could look into having an allergy test to see if you have a sensitivity to nickel. If you find out you do and you've set your heart on getting a piercing then you can buy some nickel free jewellry to wear instead.
You don't have to completely avoid getting a piercing if you're allergic to nickel. Just take precautions, look after the skin around it, and look for any changes in the area around the piercing. If you have any concerns visit your doctor.