Understanding Eczema Herperticum
One of only two potentially life threatening eczemas, first described by Moriz Kaposi in 1887 and is also known as Kaposi’s Varicelliform Eruption (KVE), Kaposi’s Pustulosis July varioliform and Acute Dermatitis.
Eczema herpeticum occurs because of common eczema infected with a medical condition called herpes simplex virus, which causes cold sores. It is therefore important for an eczema sufferer to avoid skin contact with a person with cold sores.
Despite there being several antiviral therapies available on the market, eczema herpeticum is considered a dermatological emergency today. The herpes simplex virus is usually confined to cold sores in the mouth area but with eczema sufferers, the virus could appear anywhere on the skin and in very rare cases can prove fatal.
Eczema Herpeticum Symptoms
The initial symptoms of Eczema Herpeticum develop within 5-10 days after exposure to the herpes simplex virus, which results in a rash that consists of small, liquid filled blisters in clusters. The blisters can become filled with blood and pus and may weep and bleed. It can cover large areas of the face and body but heal within 2-4 weeks without leaving scars. The rash is normally found on the face and neck but can affect the entire body.
Eczema herpeticum causes a high temperature, shivering, and swelling of the lymph glands and a general feeling of being unwell. Diagnosis is difficult as it is seen as a bad case of eczema or a secondary infection.
Eczema Herpeticum Treatment
Early diagnosis of the condition is imperative as complications can result in blindness if the infection spreads to the eyes and if it becomes systemic, then infection and damage to the internal organs may occur. The skin is made susceptible to infection from the Staphylococcus aureus making treatment more difficult.
Early diagnosis of this condition may be difficult as it may be seen as a bad case of eczema and treated as such. Once diagnosed, the physician will admit the patient into hospital as the condition is contagious; life threatening and secondary bacterial infections may set in and will require further treatment. Patients are kept in isolation, as the herpes simplex virus is highly contagious.
Antivirals such as Acyclovir and Val acyclovir are used for the treatment of this condition, however, if the immune system becomes compromised, treatments that are more intensive will be looked into. Antibiotics may be prescribed for secondary bacterial infections. Treatment is usually oral in the form of tablets or syrups, however, in the rare case were a patient is very ill and the condition is spreading quickly, the antiviral treatment is given intravenously.
It is best to keep away from crowds and crowded places until atopic eczema or dermatitis has healed completely. Traveling on crowded buses and trains should also be avoided and if it absolutely necessary to do so, wear protective clothing and ensure that skin contact with people around you is kept to a minimum.
In order to ensure that you do not inadvertently contract the dreaded eczema herpeticum, it is generally best to steer clear from jam-packed and overly crowded places until your skin dermatitis is completely healed. It is also highly recommended to avoid riding in packed buses or other forms of transportation. If you really need to commute despite the fact that still administering treatment for your dermatitis, make sure that wear a protective cover or clothing you do should make it a point not to have any direct skin contact with those people around you.
The most important thing to remember when dealing with eczema herpeticum is that diagnosis and treatment be don e as soon as possible as it is dangerous disease needing emergency treatment. Once the condition has been treated, the skin will still be sensitive and special care should be taken to keep it clean and moisturized.