Eczema Herpeticum: What You Should Know
Eczema Herpeticum (EH) is a painful, contagious skin rash usually caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Some eczema patients have an EH eruption; so it’s important to know what it is, how to diagnose it and why to treat it early. Read on to learn more.
WHAT IS ECZEMA HERPETICUM?
EH can be caused by HSV-1 (the virus that causes cold sores), HSV-2 (virus causing genital herpes), or some other viruses. EH typically starts suddenly with clusters of small, fluid-filled blisters that are very painful and itchy. The blisters look alike and have a red, purplish, or black color. The blisters ooze pus when they break open, and then the lesions crust over. The rash can spread to new sites within 7-10 days after the first outbreak. Other symptoms may include:
- high fever
- swollen lymph glands
- general malaise
WHO IS AT RISK?
A small percentage of patients who have eczema or other inflammatory skin conditions contract this condition. We do not entirely understand why, but we do know that eczema damages the outer layer of skin, leaving it dry, sensitive, and more vulnerable to infection. Some scientists believe that eczema patients lack antiviral proteins and cells that promote antivirus immune responses. Interestingly, some prescription skin creams, such as tacrolimus (Prograf), that affect the skin’s immune system may also increase risk. Lastly, hot tub and bath exposure may also increase risk.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO DIAGNOSE EARLY?
The EH eruption may only last two to six weeks but the blisters can leave scars. If the EH is near the eye and left untreated — or not treated soon enough — EH can lead to cornea infection which can lead to blindness. In very rare cases, other complications can occur such as organ failure and death if the virus spreads to the brain, lungs and liver.
HOW DOES TCM APPROACH EH?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides natural antiviral herbal solutions depending upon the primary location of the rashes. Different herbs are used for different regions of the body. In addition, herbal formulas are customized to address your specific level of itching, redness and pain. Lastly, herbal formulas also include herbs to address how much your mood and general energy level is affected by EH. Once the blisters resolve and develop into erosion and scabs, an herbal external wash can also be prescribed in order to promote healing of the skin. In this way, your herbal treatment will be entirely based upon your unique expression of EH.
Eczema Herpeticum can occur while you have eczema and is best treated early. If you think you are suffering from the above-mentioned symptoms, contact info@Amethystacu.com immediately. Additionally, if the EH appears anywhere near your eyes, please see an eye doctor for immediate evaluation.
Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions treats patients all over the contiguous US in person at the Chicago office or via video conference call. If you have questions about your eczema condition, schedule a complimentary consultation.
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About the Author
Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, Dipl.OM, MSOM, RCMDerm, is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats eczema patients throughout the US in person and via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Outside of the office, Olivia serves as the Vice President of the Illinois Society of Acupuncturists and is also one of two Illinois delegates to the American Society of Acupuncturists.