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Eczema health centre

Infections and eczema

BMJ Group Medical Reference

If skin gets very dry and broken, it can easily become infected with germs called bacteria.

It's important to recognise an infection early so that it can be treated quickly. [8] If it's not treated, it can get worse and spread.

Infections often start where your or your child's skin touches skin, for example under the arm or in the groin. [4] It's good to check those areas regularly.

Some symptoms that can mean you have an infection are: [8] [6]

  • Crusty yellow blisters

  • Oozing areas of skin where blisters have burst.

Skin infections can be caused by germs called bacteria and fungi. So these sometimes need to be treated with antibiotics, which kill the the germs that caused the infection and stop it spreading. [4] Antifungal drugs are used to treat infections caused by fungi. To learn more, see Antibiotics and antifungals.

Take extra care with cold sores

One particular infection can be very dangerous. It can be life-threatening. This infection is called eczema herpeticum. It's caused by the virus that causes cold sores (the herpes virus). If you have eczema, you shouldn't touch anyone who has a cold sore. [9]

The symptoms of eczema herpeticum are clusters of blisters or sores that appear suddenly, like a rash. They fill with liquid or pus, then become raw or weepy. You may get a high temperature or feel unwell. You should see your doctor immediately if you think you or your child might have this infection.

If you get this infection, you'll probably have to take antiviral drugs and be admitted to hospital. [4] [10]

Glossary

antibiotics

These medicines are used to help your immune system fight infection. There are a number of different types of antibiotics that work in different ways to get rid of bacteria, parasites, and other infectious agents. Antibiotics do not work against viruses.

bacteria

Bacteria are tiny organisms. There are lots of different types. Some are harmful and can cause disease. But some bacteria live in your body without causing any harm.

fungus

A fungus is an organism that is sometimes considered to be a type of plant. A fungus lives by feeding on other organisms. The mushrooms we eat in salads are fungi, but so are candida and cryptococcus, which can cause infections in people's bodies.

high temperature

A high temperature is a general sign that there is an infection or inflammation in your body. Temperatures vary, but anything over about 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) is considered high.

infection

You get an infection when bacteria, a fungus, or a virus get into a part of your body where it shouldn't be. For example, an infection in your nose and airways causes the common cold. An infection in your skin can cause rashes such as athlete's foot. The organisms that cause infections are so tiny that you can't see them without a microscope.

For more terms related to Eczema

Citations

For references related to Eczema click here.
Last Updated: September 04, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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