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 [email protected] immediately. Additionally, if the EH appears anywhere near your eyes, please see an eye doctor for immediate evaluation.
Need Help with Eczema?
If you are looking for answers to eczema for yourself or a loved one, learn more about herbal medicine and dermatology, as well as what to expect during a first consultation, by watching this video.
Want to Learn More?
Click Here for our free e-course “Healing Eczema Inside and Out,” and you will also receive our Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions Newsletter. Both will give you interesting information about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and eczema via articles, before/after pictures, case studies of Amethyst Eczema patients. Feel free to click the icons below to share this article with someone who may benefit.
About the Author
Dr. Olivia Hsu Friedman, LAc, DACM, Cert. TCM Dermatology is the owner of Amethyst Holistic Skin Solutions and treats eczema patients via video conferencing using only herbal medicine. Olivia serves on the Advisory Board of LearnSkin, is the Chair of the American Society of Acupuncturists Board of Directors, and is a faculty member of the Chicago Integrative Eczema Support Group sponsored by The National Eczema Association.