Eczema Herpeticum (EH) is a serious and painful skin infection that causes rashes and blisters on various parts of the body. EH is also known as varicelliform rash of Kaposi because it resembles chickenpox, caused by varicella-zoster virus. On the other hand, EH is usually caused by the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), the same virus that causes cold sores in and around the mouth. This could evoke the term “oral herpes”.
Viral infection that can cause cold sores can also develop in other parts of the body. In some cases, it can be life threatening.
In addition, the herpes strain responsible for genital herpes, known as herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2), may be related to EH infections.
People most at risk for PE are young children and people with inflammatory skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis (AD), which often presents with itching and red rash.
In addition to the potential for widespread epidemics of uncomfortable blisters and rashes, HE often occurs with a flare of systemic symptoms, according to a report published in Der Hautarzt, an international dermatology journal. It is unclear why some people with inflammatory skin disorders develop HT repeatedly and others do not.
What usually happens in the first place is that blisters filled with purple-colored liquid appear on the face and neck, followed by other areas of the body. After initial exposure to the herpes simplex virus, the signs and symptoms usually appear within two weeks:
Collection of painful and irritating blisters and ulcers
Skin lesions that may appear “pierced”
Bulbs of red, violet or black color
Pus that can seep from broken ampoules (they can bleed)
Rashes that may overlap
Fever and chills
Enlarged lymph nodes
Feelings of weakness or general discomfort
Blisters that can cause scarring
If you think you or your child have symptoms of PE, consult a doctor as soon as possible. Since the viral infection can spread throughout the body, knowing the symptoms can help you quickly see a doctor.
As mentioned, EH is caused by an infection with the herpes simplex virus. This virus can be transmitted from person to person through skin-to-skin contact, as reported by the American Academy of Dermatology.
It may be surprising to learn that contact with a skin lesion or wound of an infected person is only one way to get the infection. Another solution is to use a phenomenon called “asymptomatic viral shedding”: a person can become infected and have no wounds or additional symptoms. From time to time, however, the virus can be reactivated in people who wear it.
Although there is no apparent sign or symptom, the virus may be “disseminated” or transmitted to another individual during the reactivation period.In addition, people who have skin barrier abnormalities, such as those with AD, are more likely to get HE. Normally, the skin barrier helps maintain skin hydration while protecting it from environmental factors such as bacteria and viruses. When the barrier is compromised, the skin can become dry, cracked and sensitive, leaving people more vulnerable to infection.
A rapid diagnosis of EH is essential to maximize the chances of healing and minimize the risk of complications.
A health care provider may diagnose HE based on the clinical presentation, but the infection may resemble impetigo, chickenpox and smallpox vaccine complications in people with AD.
To confirm the viral infection, a swab can be taken and cultured from one of the blisters or lesions. The doctor may also order a culture to check for the presence of bacteria, which is known as a secondary infection and which may be a common occurrence among cases of HE. Therefore, it is possible to simultaneously have a bacterial and viral infection. In general, images (such as X-rays or MRIs) do not need to be taken to diagnose EH.
Acyclovir, an antiviral drug, is the main method of treatment for PE. Oral use of the drug may be used in children under 18 years of age. If a person has a severe case of PE or is significantly immune compromised, their doctor or medical team may recommend treatment at the hospital when systemic medications, such as injections, can be given.
If a secondary infection is suspected, antibiotics may be prescribed at the same time. In addition, if the EH is near the eyes, it is advisable to consult an ophthalmologist: the herpes simplex virus can affect the eyes and cause scars on the cornea.
Can we prevent EH? To stop the spread of the virus from one person to another, the National Eczema Association (NEA) recommends the following tips:
If you have an AD or other inflammatory skin condition, avoid contact with people with cold sores.
Do not share personal items such as lipstick, silverware or cups with people with herpes simplex virus.
Additional preventive measures include:
Do your best to keep AD and other skin problems under control.
Minimize your eczema triggers.
To protect your skin, moisturize after bathing or showering.
Take your medications as prescribed by your health care provider.
If you experience an unexplained resurgence of the symptoms of eczema, consult your doctor.
Wash your hands to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the infection.
Ask potential sexual partners if they have a history of genital herpes. If they do, avoid sexual contact with them.
To minimize your risk of contracting the herpes virus during sex, use a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
A word from Very well.
If you have an unexplained red rash with fever (especially if you have a history of atopic dermatitis or other skin conditions), see your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you can get a correct diagnosis and start treatment, the better your chances of successful recovery and less possible complications.
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