Infected eczema develops when bacteria, virus or fungi get into the damaged skin caused by eczema. This condition causes red, itchy and oozing fluid-filled blisters. The infected skin can be so itchy that the patient could not help but scratch incessantly. However, this would only make things worse as this will exacerbate the infection, thereby making it more dangerous and even life threatening.
An infected eczema requires prompt treatment, and this varies depending on the kind of infection the individual is suffering from. Treatment helps the patient by reducing the severity of the infection as well as shortening the duration of the illness. It also helps in preventing the spread of infection to others. The dreadful effects of eczema infection could well be prevented if the affected individual takes precautionary measures to prevent eczema flare ups.
Types of Eczema
There is a slight confusion in how the term “eczema” is being used today. Many refer to this as atopic dermatitis. However, eczema is more than just atopic dermatitis as it covers a group of skin problems that cause skin irritation, inflammation and itchiness. Eczema comes in wide variety and a person could develop several types of eczema. The most common varieties of eczema are the following:
- Atopic eczema
This is the most popular type of eczema which occurs due to hypersensitive skin. Affected individuals immediately develop red, itchy and sometimes swollen patches on the skin, particularly on the head, scalp, neck, buttocks, elbows and knees. Atopic eczema causes the skin to become scaled and crusty.
- Contact dermatitis
This form of eczema appears following the exposure of the skin to irritants or allergens that result in allergic reaction. These irritants could be present in shampoos, lotions, cosmetics and fragrances as well as in foods and medicines.
- Seborrheic dermatitis
This particular type of eczema develops especially during dry and cold weather. It causes yellow, crusty and waxy skin patches from the face to the scalp line, and even on the trunk. Seborrheic dermatitis is referred to as cradle crap in babies or dandruff in adults.
- Hand eczema
As the name implies, the eczema is limited to the hands due to the frequent exposure to strong chemicals or harsh substances resulting in shiny and painful red lesions on the hands. Hand eczema is capable of obstructing one’s daily routine and aggravates easily.
- Nummular eczema
This form of eczema causes coin-shaped skin patches on the arms, legs or chest. Nummular eczema usually develops following an insect bite, abrasion and burn.
What happens in an infected eczema?
Infected eczema will likely develop if bacteria, fungi or virus find their way to the broken skin. That is why it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent these microorganisms from getting into the wound. Among the offending microorganisms are:
- Staphylococcus Aureus
Most cases of infected eczema are caused by this bacterium which causes the eczema to heal slowly. The bacterium finds its way to the wound through scratching as it is already present on the areas surrounding the wound.
- Herpes simples virus
This is the same virus that causes cold sores. It is extremely infectious and causes eczema herpeticum which could appear on different parts of the body in small bands of fluid-filled ulcers or blisters. This infection can lead to life-threatening conditions.
- Candida and Pityrosporum
Any of these fungi can cause eczema to become infected. It has been found that the pityrosporum fungus is responsible for seborrheic eczema to get infected.
What does an infected eczema look like?
A worsening or persistent eczema is a marking sign of an infected eczema. Other indications that the eczema has become infected are presence of redness, swelling, pus-filled blisters and oozing eczema.
Infected Eczema Treatment
Infected eczema requires immediate treatment, especially if the microorganism is herpes simplex. Treatment is designed individually, depending on the kind of infection that the patient is suffering from.
- Bacterial infection
If the infection is caused by the staph bacterium, then treatment could be in the form of antibacterial moisturizers, creams, ointments and topical steroids to fight infection. Those who are severely affected may be given oral antibiotics in addition to topical treatments.
- Viral infection
People who develop eczema herpeticum should be taken to the doctor for proper treatment. The infection is often addressed using antiviral drugs either in ointment/cream form or through injection. Severe cases of eczema herpeticum require hospital stay.
- Fungal infection
Antifungal creams, anti-yeast or medicated shampoos could be used in treating fungal infections. Creams with mild steroids could also be applied in treating an infected eczema occurring in other areas of the body.
Anyone using topical immunomodulators should stop using them if infected eczema is observed. Also, covering eczema with damp bandage should be avoided as this only creates a favorable environment in which the microorganisms can flourish.
Infected Eczema Pictures