Herpetic eczema or eczema herpeticum is atopic dermatitis with superimposed virus of herpes simplex of types I and II. It is a rather rare form of disease, but requires the most complex treatment. This type of eczema is caused by herpes simplex virus of 1 and 2 types, coxsackievirus A16 and vaccinia virus. This type of eczema ca occur in males and females, however most often the disease is indicated in infants and kids up to 10 years old who suffer from atopic dermatitis. The disease is life threatening in babies.
Eczema herpeticum affects numerous organs with eyes, liver, lungs and brain included and can be fatal. The disease features recurrent flow.
The course of the disease
Eczema herpeticum features typical for the disease flow. The condition starts with irritated skin with blisters appearing fast after redness of the skin area. The blisters itching and very painful. Eczema herpeticum can appear on any part of the body, but the most typical location for the disease is neck and face.
To successfully treat the herpetic eczema a patient should combine traditional treatment with antiviral therapy. Herpetic eczema may appear on any skin area. Previous damages with eczema or atopic dermatitis do not matter. It takes up to 10 days for new patches to be formed. This type of eczema rarely disseminates over large areas of skin.
Key symptoms of eczema herpeticum
The blister on the skin are monomorphic. This means that they all look alike.
Commonly the blisters are filled with yellow fluid or a sort of purulent thick material.
Blisters are normally blood stained and turn red, black or even purple in color.
Blisters are easily damaged, after bursting they can weep or bleed.
After bursting the blisters form small erosions which may also bleed or weep.
The lesion commonly lasts up to 6 weeks and then fades.
Acute forms and severe cases of eczema herpeticum leave small white scars which may persist for a prolonged period of time.
Patients with eczema herpeticum commonly develop fever and swollen local lymph nodes.
The triggers for eczema herpeticum to burst are:
• thermal burns
• darier disease
Eczema Herpeticum treatment
The symptoms of eczema herpeticum are almost similar to the symptoms of other types of the disease. To distinguish herpetic eczema a patient should see a doctor and get tested. Commonly a swab test is enough. A doctor takes a swab and scrapes a surface of fresh blister. A fluid which a swab will get will be tested for herpes markers. In severe cases a skin biopsy is needed to reveal pathologic changes in skin. Tests will clear up what sort of treatment will best fit every individual case. “Blind” treatment may lead to frequent diseases recurrences and severe skin damage.
Eczema herpeticum is one of the emergency cases requiring prompt treatment. Antiviral Acyclovir in high dosages is administered orally. Topical steroids are not recommended in this case. The treatment is chosen after getting test results. In some severe cases eczema herpeticum should be treated only in hospital under strict control of doctors.